With a steady rain falling throughout the evening and temperatures more closely resembling mid October than late May, it was clear it was not going to be a good night for the pitchers when Fallston and Eastern Tech squared off in the 2A baseball state semifinals, Tuesday evening on the turf at Harford Community College.
For the hitters, well that was a different story.
The Cougars and Mavericks combined for 28 hits and 32 runs, with Fallston hanging on for a wild 18-14 victory, claiming the coveted spot in Saturday’s 2A state championship game at Ripken Stadium. The Cougars will face Frederick County’s Middletown, which defeated LaPlata, 6-4, in Tuesday’s early game at HCC.
Early on it appeared as if Fallston would coast into Aberdeen as the Cougars scored nine times in the bottom of the first inning after holding the Mavericks scoreless in the top half of the opening frame. Tech, however, would not go without a fight, scoring six times in the top of the second and crooked numbers were scattered all over the scoreboard the rest of the evening.
Fallston’s first four batters singled in the bottom of the first inning with senior catcher Kyle Hoover driving in the first run with a solid single to center. On a night with many offensive stars, Hoover was a standout, going 4-for-5 at the plate with a walk and four RBI’s.
Both Hoover and Noah Hagenston had two RBI hits in the opening inning, with Hagenston’s second knock going for a double. Hangenston finished the game with three RBI’s, Everett Cox had three hits and two RBI’s, Blake Lowe was 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI, and Brady Logan had two hits, including a double, and two RBI’s.
Fallston scored four times in the bottom of the second, but could not shake the Mavericks, who kept fighting back, scoring five times in the top of the third to pull within two at 13-11. The Cougars created some space again with three in the third and two in the fourth, but Eastern Tech made things interesting again with two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
The outburst of runs by both teams caught Fallston head coach Grant Morlock by surprise.
“Our games have been tight,” said the team’s fourth year head coach Grant Morlock. “We have been in a lot tight games and I can’t tell you one time we scored 9 runs in the first inning. That team showed a lot of fight tonight from Eastern Tech. They could have crumbled early, but they kept fighting back.”
After pitching a scoreless first inning, Fallston starting pitcher Josh Bogden got back-to-back strikeouts after Connor Bowings singled and Ian Tokofsky walked to start the second inning rally. Bogden should have then escaped the inning unscathed when he got Bobby Collins to ground to short, but a throwing error allowed Tech’s first run to score. Mitchell Shanklin followed with an RBI single, Mike Birchfield walked and Zack Dell and Jeff Young stroked back-to-back singles, with Dell driving in two and Young plating one.
In the top of the third, Fallston capitalized on three walks and an error, as well as three hits of their own to get four runs back. The Cougars, however, were just as generous in the top of third, as Andrew Kalista issued three walks, hit a batter and threw three wild pitches to help fuel a five-run second for the Mavericks.
“I have never been part of a game that high scoring before, but we constantly fought,” said Hoover. “We jumped up on them in the first inning. We just battled the whole entire time and they battled back.”
Fallston got back three of its own in the third and two more in the sixth to finally break Eastern Tech’s spirit. The Mavericks finished their season at 13-10, while Fallston improved to 16-7 heading into the state final.
2A BOYS BASEBALL STATE SEMIFINALS
(AT HARFORD COMMUNITY COLLEGE)
FALLSTON 14, EASTERN TECH 11
ETECH 065 021 0 — 14 11 5
FALL 943 200 x — 18 17 3
2B: ET-Catlin; FALL-Hagenston, Logan.