It was typical Chesapeake-AA Cougars baseball last night at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans. Superb pitching, flawless defense, lots of bunts, timely hitting and fast play enabled the No. 4 ranked Cougars to defeat No. 16 C. Milton Wright, 5-1, in the Class 3A baseball state semifinals.
Sophomore right-hander Dylan Young spun a two-hitter and his defense was perfect with no errors. Third-baseman Joe Seidler paced an 8-hit attack going 3-for-4 with two RBI’s in a five-run third inning that put the Mustangs in the hole.
“Dylan has been very consistent all season, our defense played very well and we like to put pressure on our opponents with the bunt,” said coach Ken King whose men laid down a sacrifice, squeeze bunt and a bunt that resulted in a fielder’s choice out in a five-run third inning.
The Cougars (20-3 overal) earned their third trip to the state final in four years and will play Poolesville of Montgomery County at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. Poolesville (18-3) advanced by edging defending champion (15-8) Huntingtown of Southern Maryland, 2-1 in the other 3A semi.
In 2014, the Cougars won it all and finished as runner-up last spring.
Young, who improved his record to 6-0, threw only 62 pitches in five innings. He retired the first 11 Mustangs (16-8) he faced before giving up two hits, two walks and the only run in the fourth inning.
“It’s great playing with these guys and feels good to be going back to Ripken because we have some unfinished business to take care of,” said Young, who is the son of assistant coach Jeff Young, a former Chesapeake standout. The younger Young was a JV call-up last year as a freshman.
Relying on a sharp breaking curve ball, Young survived that fourth inning in which he loaded the bases, thanks to a well-executed relay that cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning. Zach Walter doubled to left-center with two outs and the next two batters, Cory Poulsen and Sean D’Adamo walked to load the sacks.
Tyler Leach then singled to right scoring Walter with Poulsen streaking for home right behind him as Cougar right-fielder Bobby Quisenberry came charging in and fired a perfect strike to first baseman/cutoff man Mike Cybert who in turn got it to catcher Tommy McNamara. The play was textbook stuff as McNamara waited for the runner before firmly tagging him out to quell the threat.
“I can’t say enough about that play,” said King. “It was excellent, the way you are supposed to do it and it got us out of the inning.”
Young set down the Stangs 1-2-3 in the fifth and fellow sophomore Colby Buckheit followed showing a nifty change-up in closing it out with six consecutive outs on just 16 pitches.
CMW senior lefty Cam Outten was not as fortunate as Young in his one tough inning, the decisive 5-run third. Outten (2-2) struck out Seidler in the first inning with a man in scoring position, but the next time up, Seidler singled in a pair to get things rolling and he would single twice more on curve balls in the game. Blake Rebstock and Young each singled in runs and McNamara squeezed one in as the Cougars batted around in the third.
“We started off rough (leaving two runners on base in the first inning but we got going and I’m very excited we got back to the state championship game,” said Seidler, who won 11 straight games last year before losing the state final to Huntingtown by 4-3 and who is 7-1 this season and expects to pitch Saturday night in Aberdeen. “We’ve got to get some things done.”
Things are done of course for C.Milton Wright that prepped for the state playoffs in the competitive UCBAC and it was a tough pill to swallow for veteran coach Joe Stetka.
“I don’t like to lose, but that doesn’t mean as much to me as these kids I had,” said Stetka. “I really loved this bunch. They were the best kids to coach and be around everyday that I have ever had.”
3A BASEBALL STATE SEMIFINALS
(at Joe Cannon Stadium)
NO. 4 CHESAPEAKE-ANNE ARUNDEL 5, NO. 16 C. MILTON WRIGHT 1
C. Milton Wright (16-8) 000 100 0 – 1 2 1
Chesapeake-AA (20-3) 005 000 X – 5 8 0
CMW – Cam Outten and Sean D’Adamo.
C – Dylan Young, Colby Buckheit and Tommy McNamara.
2B: C – Dillon Oxyer; CMW – Zach Walter.
WP: C – Dylan Young (6-0)
LP – CMW – Cam Outten (2-2)
OTHER 3A semi – Poolesville 2, Huntingtown 1.