Bulls continue 3A baseball postseason surge; Kinsey hits grand slam (VIDEO HERE!)
by Demetrius Dillard
Special to VSN
Drew Kinsey provided the offensive jolt and late-game defense equaled success for Hereford High baseball Wednesday as the Bulls posted a 7-4 victory over Poly in a Class 3A North Region I semifinal contest at Johns Hopkins University’s Babb Field.
Ryan Elseroad finished with 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI, and outfielder Jake Coleman scored three runs. Sophomore Liam Diehl struck out seven in a complete game effort.
The fifth-seeded Bulls (5-7 overall) will play at No. 2 Towson Friday afternoon for the region title and a spot in next week’s state quarterfinals. Towson defeated City College, 7-5, Wednesday afternoon.
The Baltimore County squad built a 7-0 lead before Poly crept back into contention. The Bulls made the necessary defensive plays to advance with a second straight postseason road victory.
Longtime Hereford coach Ric Evans said his infielders could have “tightened some stuff up” but was pleased with the pitching and outfield.
“What happened today was that we were playing good fundamental baseball and our pitcher was a workhorse out on the mound today, and he got us out of it,” Evans said.
Diehl allowed four earned runs and walked five batters. The right hander also totaled seven strikeouts – two of which came in the sixth and seventh innings.
“I was just trying to get ahead and work in some sinkers and off speed, got some ground balls and kept the pitch count down,” Diehl said.
Diehl got help before taking the mound at Stromberg Stadium Wednesday. Elseroad’s tripled deep to center field, scoring Coleman, and Truitt Brinsfield’s RBI groundout brought home Elseroad, giving Hereford a 2-0 advantage in the first.
Elseroad delivered Coleman home again, this time with a single in the top of the third. The Parkton school loaded the bases against Poly starter Jack Overton in the fifth, and Kinsey lined a pitch over the left field fence, making it 7-0.
“Earlier in the game I was looking away, I was trying to hit the ball to right center and my whole body was disconnected, I didn’t feel it,” said Kinsey, a junior catcher. “I felt great off the bat, it top spun a little bit, hit the fence and went over. That was just my favorite moment so far.”
The top-seeded Engineers (14-2) rallied in the bottom of the fifth. Darius Lee singled to center and Diehl walked Brendan George and Jacob Aldouby, loading the bases.
Rashid Mcleod singled home Lee, and Overton’s bases-loaded two-run single, made it 7-3. The Engineers got their fourth run on a Diehl’s wild pitch, but a pickoff at second ended the rally.
Diehl settled down, allowing a walk over the final two innings along with some solid outfield play.
“Our outfield did a fantastic job tonight, and our makeshift outfielders (Mike Powell and Truitt Brinsfield) – the guy starting in left and the guy starting in right – haven’t played there all year, so I was proud as anything of what they did out there.” Evans said.
Poly coach Corey Goodwin was pleased with his team’s resilience.
“These kids didn’t quit, there’s no quit in us. We were down seven-nothing. Any team would’ve folded and said the game was over… So my kids fought, and that’s what it’s all about.
The chips didn’t fall today, but we’re a good team. We’re not just good for the city, but we’re a good program.”
CLASS 3A NORTH REGION I SEMIFINAL
at Johns Hopkins University
Hereford 7, Poly 4
Hereford 201 040 0 – 7 5 0
Poly 000 040 0 – 4 5 1
Jack Overton, Isaiah Jones (5) and Rashid Mcleod; Liam Diehl and Drew Kinsey
3B: Hereford – Ryan Elseroad
HR: Hereford – Drew Kinsey