Sparrows Point rallies past North Harford for 2A state baseball berth; Shifflett drives in two
by Demetrius Dillard
Special to VSN
Depth, especially pitching is critical for any baseball team. Sparrows Point High has it, and the Pointers are headed to the state final.
Sparrows Point defeated North Hartford, 9-4, in a Class 2A state semifinal in Baltimore County. The Pointers will play Southern Maryland’s LaPlata in the state title match, Friday at 4 p.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.
Bryce Shifflett drove in two runs for Sparrows Point, and Logan Wallace scored three runs. Mike Gamble added a run and an RBI.
The Baltimore County took advantage of a strained Hawks staff, scoring the final seven runs to notch its first state title game appearance since 2014.
“I was lucky enough to have seven guys that can throw… because we have pitching we were able to make it through, and that’s the bottom line,” said Pointers coach Marc Kline, who got 3 1/3 innings from starter Logan Deene.
Adam Hamilton got the victory and Mike Gamble worked three scoreless innings to close out the win. The junior finished with three strikeouts and yielded three hits, three walks and no runs.
“I feel like I performed to my natural ability that I can to help the team, and do what we had to do to get the win,” Gamble said.
Trailing 4-2, Sparrows Point scored five runs in the home fourth to cease control. Shiflett induced a bases loaded walk, Kameron Locklear was hit by pitch, bringing home Ryan Zickefoose with tying run.
Another North Harford walk, this one to Gamble, brought Wallace in with the lead run. Ryan Mitchell singled to centerfield, scoring Shifflett and Locklear.
Sparrows Point took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Wayne Brooks hit a ground ball to right field that led to a run by Gamble. Shifflett belted a line drive single to right center, bringing home Wallace to put the Pointers ahead 2-0 in the second.
After a shaky start, North Harford found its footing in the top of the third . Austin Bach and Brian Hauer scored thanks to a two-RBI single on a line drive up the middle by Mitchell Wittkamp.
In the fourth, Bach laid down a sacrifice bunt to bring Keegan Bowling in, followed by Gavin Barker’s RBI single fly ball that drove Bach home. Bach went 2-for-2 for two runs and an RBI, while Wittkamp contributed with a hit and two RBI.
With North Harford’s top pitchers exceeded the maximum pitch from work earlier in the week, coach Tim Larrimore had to rely on his Nos. 3 thru 5 pitchers.
“We had really run out of pitching with four games in seven days,” said Larrimore. “It seemed like we couldn’t get anything going [in the bottom of the fourth]. We had a ball hit back to the pitcher that looked like it was an easy out at first base, we had an error, we had an easy ground ball to shortstop, we had an error on that.”
Larrimore, whose 31-year career as a coach came to an end Wednesday, said the Hawks simply ran out of gas.
“But again, it comes down to not having the dominating pitching we needed. And it’s part of the baseball game,” Larrimore said. “You have to have pitching.”