Top 5 VSN baseball powers will go head-to-head at Ripken
The match-up most expected, and even hoped to see, when the 4A state tournament baseball brackets were announced, as No. 2 Severna Park and No. 5 Howard have each played their way into Friday night’s 4A state final, at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
The pair of District 5 powers played their respective 4A state final playoff games back-to-back on Wednesday at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda and both won by similar scores, as Severna Park slipped past C.H. Flowers, 6-4, and Howard topped Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 5-3.
In the early game, Flowers claimed a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second, but the Falcons struck for four runs in the top of the third and held off the Jaguars with single runs in the sixth and the seventh.
Luke Guy and Garrett Whitaker started the Falcon third with back-to-back singles. Cullen Figlioli came on as a curtesy runner for Whitaker and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch with AJ Weyant a the plate. Weyant then plated the first Severna Park run with an RBI ground out and Figlioli advanced to third.
Then, with Nick Hogan at the plate, a passed ball allowed Figlioli to score, putting the Falcons on top, 2-1. Hogan eventually drew a free pass as did the next hitter, Cam Clark, but with Severna Park star Kody Milton at the plate, Hogan was cut down trying to steal third. Clark took second and went to third when Milton singled.
Severna Park (21-3) head coach Eric Milton, Kody’s dad, stayed aggressive and put his son his moth. An error by the Flowers shortstop allowed him to reach second safely and Clark came home with the third run. After a walk to to Brendan Simonds, George Lesher drove home Milton to cap the inning.
Hogan drove in Guy with the fifth run in the sixth on a sac fly and Guy produced an RBI single in the seventh to give the Falcons their sixth run.
Guys went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Milton also had two hits in four trips.
Lesher earned the win with six strong innings on the mound, allowing just three hits and striking out two. Milton closed things out with a shaky seventh, allowing two hits and two runs, including a home run. He was hurt by a dropped third strike in the seventh that allowed the second run of the inning to score and hit two batters before finally working out of the jam.
In the nightcap, Howard (19-5) earned a second straight trip to the final, with strong pitching and clutch hitting.
Matt Flynn plated the first Lion run with an RBI single in the first and Howard rallied from a 2-1 deficit with an RBI double from Craig Wiley and a run-scoring single from Jerry O’Neil to go up 3-2 in the fourth.
With the game tied 3-3 in the fifth, Flynn doubled in the and scored on a single by Alex Campbell. Pinch-hitter Cameron Morris then knocked in the fifth run with a single.
Brendan Foster provided a strong start for the Lions, going 4.2 innings and Brian Jakubek came on to get the win with 2.1 innings of work in relief.
The Falcons and Lions will match-up at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Pictured above: Brendan Foster (left) and Brian Jakubek combined to pitch Howard in the 4A baseball state final in a 5-3 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.