With just two games remaining in the 2011 MIAA A Conference baseball season the fait of the final two playoff seeds remains in the balance, awaiting the conclusion of today’s contests between first-place Calvert Hall and Mount St. Joseph, in Irvington, as well as John Carroll at Loyola.
The Cardinals (24-7, 14-1), who defeated McDonogh, 11-1, on Monday, to deliver coach Lou Eckerl his 300th career win, have locked up the top seed for the post-season tournament, but St. Joe (8-14, 5-10) needs a win to extend its season.
The Gaels were routed, on Monday, 16-4, by Archbishop Spalding, but would lock up the fifth seed with an upset of the Cardinals. If both Loyola and St. Joe win, they would be tied for fifth and would have split their head-to-head meetings. St. Joe would get the fifth seed, however, because they would own a win over Calvert Hall at that point. If just one of those teams wins, it would take the fifth seed and the other would drop into a three-way tie, at 5-11, with Archbishop Curley and Gilman.
In a three way tie between Loyola, Curley and Gilman, the Dons would take the sixth seed by virtue of a 3-1 combined head-to-head record, while Curley would be 2-2 and Gilman 1-3. Curley would own the tie-break in a three-way tie with St. Joe and Gilman. The Friars would be have a 3-1 combined head-to-head record in that group, while St. Joe would be 2-2 and Gilman 1-3.
In the case of four way tie, should both Loyola and St. Joe lose today, Loyola is 4-2 in those contests and would become the fifth seed, while defending champion Gilman would be eliminated at 2-4. Curley and St. Joe would both be 3-3, including a two game split against each other. Curley, however, would have the tie-break advantage and enter the tournament as the sixth and final seed by virtue of a win over second-seeded Archbishop Spalding.
St. Paul’s (10-6), which defeated Loyola, 15-6, on Monday will be the fourth-seed in the tournament.
Curley had a chance to win its way in as it battled third-place John Carroll, Monday in Bel Air, but suffered a heart-breaking, 7-6, loss in eight innings. Curley took a 4-0 lead in the fourth, but needed a run in the top of the seventh to forge a 5-5 tie. The Friars went ahead with a single run in the eighth, but John Carroll scored two in the bottom of the frame to pull out the victory.
Pinch hitter Avery Callan delivered the game winning hit for the Patriots, with a two-run single that plated KJ Hockaday and Brendan Butler. Hockaday, who has had a monster season, went 4-for-4 with two more home runs. He also walked, scored three runs and had four RBI.
Hockaday now ties Mark Teixeira for the MIAA career home run record at 29. Last week, it was incorrectly reported on VSN and elsewhere that Hockaday had broken the mark but according Maryland state baseball historian Pat O’Malley, Teixeira’s record at St. Joe was actually 29. Hockaday, who is hitting .648 on the season, will have a chance to claim the mark for his own during the playoffs.
Speaking of home runs, Alex Murphy and Matt Bosse each had one as Calvert Hall added to its school record for most blasts in a single season during an 11-1 win over McDonogh. The Cardinals broke things open with a six run second inning.
Eckerl, who guided the Cardinals to five consecutive MIAA A Conference crowns before finishing second to Gilman last spring, is hoping to ride his sluggers to a sixth crown when post-season play gets underway later this week.