No. 12 Knights blank Hereford, 9-0, in state semis; La Plata stops North East, 11-5

Matt Born (left) and Nate Hibbs each had two hits and combined for two doubles and triple to fuel Century’s offense in the Knights state semifinal win over Hereford.

by Gary Adornato

Century rattled three Hereford pitchers for 12 hits, including three doubles and a triple, Wednesday night at Harford Community College, and received a brilliant effort from starting pitcher Tyler Roach as the Knights advanced to Saturday’s 2A Baseball state championship game at Ripken Stadium, with a 9-0 win over the Bulls.

Century will face La Plata of Charles County in the 4:00 p.m. contest. The Warriors advanced with an 11-5 win over North East, earlier in the afternoon at HCC.

After a scoreless first inning, Century broke through for three runs in the top of the second off of Hereford starter Chase Crawford.

Ethan Kiple reached to start the inning when his fly ball to left was dropped for a two-base error and he promptly scored on an RBI single by Jared Lamb. A single by Jeremy Lapp moved Lamb to second and both runners scored on a triple by Matt Born.

“Going into it, we all really wanted to win to get some revenge from last year,” said Born, who finished with a team-high four RBI’s. “I think we all just wanted it and it showed today.”

Born, Lamb and Lapp all finished with two hits, as did Nate Hibbs and Dylan Breitenbach.

With one on and one out in the fourth, Hibbs hit the first of his two doubles, advancing Michael Marrale, who reached on a fielders choice, to third. Marralle then scored on a single by Kiple.

Century (19-3) added their final five runs in the top of the fifth, as they sent 10 men to the plate and ripped five hits, including a two-run single by Born. Lamb also had an RBI hit in the inning. The other runs in the frame scored on a balk and an error.

Tyler Roach did not allow a hit through five innings as he pitched Century into the 2A state final on Saturday.

Roach did not allow a hit to Hereford until Hunter Patrick and Jake Fulz had back-to-back singles after two were down in the Bulls’ sixth. Roach, however, reared back and got his fifth and final strikeout to end the inning. With his pitch count exhausted, Roach gave way to Lamb who pitched a scoreless seventh.

Despite the lack of hits, Hereford (8-12) did have a few chances as Roach walked five. In the fourth, a walk and an error allowed the Bulls to put runners on second and third with no outs. Jimmy Kells’ hard ground ball to third, however, was fielded and Jeremy Kain was cut down at the plate trying to score. Following another walk, Roach got a strike out and a routine fly ball to escape the jam.

The Bulls also had a pair of base runners in the fifth, on a pair of walks, but again they could not get the clutch hit.

“It’s huge for us,” said Hibbs, of the Knights trip to the state finals. “In years past we felt we could have made it here, but we fell short. Tyler’s pitching tonight was incredible. He carried us to this win and we’re very glad to be going to the state championship.

When asked what it would take to defeat La Plata, Hibbs said, “We just have to hit the ball the way we know we can. We have to pitch the way we know we can. I think we can win the game.”

Century coach Mike Marrale had high praise for Roach, but he also emphasized the role of the offense in his team’s success.

“The last four or five games, they have been hitting really well,” said Marrale. “If we can continue to do that we should have a good shot.”

Hereford was an unlikely participant in this contest, after the Bulls started the season at 1-9. They won three of their final five regular season games, however, and then won four straight in the post-season to reach the semifinals.

“I was very proud of our effort, said Bulls’ coach Ric Evans. “It was senior led. We brought eight of them up two years ago as sophomores. They were the ones that gelled us and got us going throughout this playoff run.

“No body expected us to be here, especially after we had a slow start, but we got here. We just got a little over-matched tonight. The pitching on the other side was excellent.”

North East got off to a great start in the early game, scoring three times in the first inning, but La Plata answered with a five-run second and a three-run third, as the Warriors went on to win, 12-5.

La Plata starter Dean Kirby was roughed up in the first by the Indians and he left the mound in favor of Jarrod Schmitz. Schmitz blanked North East from the second through the sixth. Schmitz came out to pitch the seventh, but he walked the lead-off hitter as his pitch limit expired. Kirby returned to the mound and made things interesting.

An error followed by a single, plated the Indian’s fourth run and then Kirby hit a batter and walked one to force in the fifth run. Hoping not to exhaust any other available arms prior to the state final, La Plata coach John Childers stuck with Kirby and he got the final three Indians in order to finally close out the win.

Pictured above: Matt Born, who had two hits, including a triple, and four RBI’s, strides into a swing Wednesday night against Hereford.

2A BASEBALL STATE SEMIFINALS
(at Harford Community College)
NO. 12 CENTURY 9, HEREFORD 0
CENT 031 050 0 — 9 23 1
HERE 000 000 0 — 0 3 5
Tyler Roach, Jared Lamb (7) and Michael Marrale; Chase Crawford, Aaron Winsker (5), Hunter Patrick (5) and Jon Wancowicz
WP-Roach LP-Crawford
2B: Nate Hibbs 2, Jeremy Lapp.
3B: Matt Brown.