(May 15, 2015) Hits at opportune times was the difference in the Section I finals of the 3A South Regional game between the Stephen Decatur and James M. Bennett baseball teams Wednesday in Berlin.
“They had some timely hits and we didn’t,” Decatur Coach Rich Ferro said after the Seahawks’ 5-3 loss. “That’s what it came down to, just the hits. We haven’t really swung the bats great all year, but I thought we were turning a corner. We left guys on base with two outs a couple times.”
Senior Brandon McKenzie drove in two in the first inning to put Section I top-seeded Decatur on the board. Bennett, the second seed, cut the lead to one in the top of the third, but the Seahawks answered in the bottom of the inning.
The visiting Clippers tallied three runs in the top of the fourth inning as Decatur junior pitcher Will Sass came into the game to take over on the mound for senior Sean Colgan.
Decatur had runners on base in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Seahawks failed to bring them home.
Bennett added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 5-3, and the squad held on for the win.
Decatur advanced to the sectional finals after a late rally Monday in Berlin earned the squad an 8-4 victory over the No. 5 Northeast Eagles of Anne Arundel.
Scoring went back and fourth and after three innings the game was tied 2-2.
Junior Zach Adams’ two-run homer gave Decatur a 4-2 advantage in the fifth. The Clippers brought the game to within one (4-3), but a junior Lane Dillon double scored three in the bottom of the sixth.
After six innings, Decatur led 8-3.
Eight senior Seahawks will graduate at the end of the month and all were major contributors. The athletes have been playing baseball together since they were young, coming up through the Berlin Little League. Ferro has watched them all mature as athletes over the years and grow into young men.
“It’s been an honor to coach them,” he said. “I’m just really proud of them for what they’ve done for the program. The finality of [the season ending] stinks right now.”
Decatur finished the year 18-3. When asked how he thinks the team will look next year after graduating eight players, Ferro said, “young and unproved.”
“We can work with them to get them better and hopefully see a lot of growth,” Ferro said. “We still have a strong core of guys coming back. We’ll be competitive, we’ve just got to find positions [for the players] and just get better.”