Chesapeake star hits a grand slam and pitches a six-hitter as the Cougars avenged three 2017 losses to Severna Park


by Pat O’Malley

It was a game that Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County’s stellar senior Joe Seidler really wanted.

So, Seidler, VSN’s 2-time Baseball Player of the Year, went out and pitched his best game of the season coming within one out of a complete game, falling victim to the pitch-count rule. He also belted a four-base knock with the sacks full and had five RBI’s to lead the No. 10 10 Cougars to an impressive 12-4 rout at No. 5 Severna Park Friday afternoon.

The result tightened up the Anne Arundel race leaving Severna Park and No. 9 Arundel, a 10-7 winner over Glen Burnie, tied for first place at 8-2 each. No. 19 North County (3-1 over South River) and Old Mill (14-5 over Annapolis) are close behind at 7-3 each and Chesapeake follows at 6-4. The teams play a 16-game schedule.

“Ever since last year when I let up about nine runs to them, I’ve wanted this game,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Seidler, a right-hander who has committed to Radford. “I wanted them bad. I came out looking for a ‘W’ and that’s all that mattered.”

Severna Park (11-2 overall) swept the Cougars in three games in 2017 dealing Seidler a 13-8 loss in the first meeting and then taking the other regular season contest by 3-2 followed by the identical winning score in the Anne Arundel County Championship game. Seidler did not pitch against the Falcons in the last two games, instead he started the Class 3A East playoffs and ultimately led the Cougars to their second straight 3A State final.

Seidler blanked Severna Park, 1-0, as a sophomore on the way to an 11-0 campaign.

This spring Seidler is 3-0 thus far, with the Severna Park victory the 22nd (22-4) of his 4-year varsity career, the most wins in the Lake Shore school’s history. Seidler scattered six hit, struck out nine, walked three (one intentional) and hit a batter on 110 pitches thrown. He walked the last batter that he faced, pinch-hitter Jordan Hallet, to load the bases. Seniors are allowed to throw 105 total pitches, but can finish off the last batter if your total hits 105.

Sophomore right-hander Tommy Lewis came on to get the last out for what was a big win for the Cougars (8-4 overall) who had been really struggling. Chesapeake had lost three of its last four games before defeating Annapolis 6-zip on Wednesday.

“I guess, we’re getting a little better. Rome wasn’t built in a day,” said Chesapeake coach Ken King referring to his team’s shoddy defense over the last couple weeks.

“But we’re putting some more emphasis on trying to do the basic things, fielding ground balls and throwing the ball across the diamond. Other than the first inning today (two errors), we played great. And we made a couple diving stops in the seventh inning and I was pretty pleased about that.”

And the Cougar coach was obviously pleased about the way his team swung the bat.

Chesapeake started early against the Falcons’ senior catcher/occasional pitcher George Lesher, as Seidler led off the game by reaching on an error, stealing second and advancing to 3rd base on a passed ball before catcher Tyler Shadle sent him cruising home on a sac fly to right. The Falcons answered immediately in the bottom of the first with two unearned runs against Seidler.

Brendan Simonds’ fielder’s choice and a knock by Josh Horgan gave the home team a 2-1 lead after the first frame, but things didn’t go well for the Falcons after that.

Chesapeake took advantage of three Falcon miscues in the second frame to score four unearned runs off Lesher, who would pitch very well, going six innings on 88 pitches, allowing only two earned runs on seven hits, with three strikeouts and no walks. He also plucked two batters. Take away the second inning and Lesher (3-1), normally the starting catcher, would have had the Falcons in position to win.

“He threw the ball well. He’s my catcher and is basically been our No. 3 (pitcher),” said Severna Park coach Eric Milton, the former 11-year major league pitcher. “I preach throwing strikes and that’s what he did. He was on top of it. If we don’t make mistakes, it’s a different ball game.”

Chesapeake made sure the Falcons paid for their mistakes as Jacob Hynson’s infield hit with the bases loaded scored the first run in the four-run second with two outs and Shadle followed with a two-run single and the fourth came home on the third misplay.

It remained 5-2 until the fifth when Colton Spangler doubled for his second hit leading off the inning and scored on a sac fly by Mike Cybert. Severna Park got one back in the bottom half on a solo dinger by Cameron Clark.

Each team also scored a run each in the sixth as Seidler singled in James Hawkins (2-for-2, 2 runs scored) for the Cougars. Nick Horgan singled in one for the Falcons.

After Colby Buckheit was hit by a pitch from reliever Jacob Way with the bases loaded to make it 8-4 Chesapeake, Seidler took a Way 3-1 offering deep to left over the fence for a grand slam to put the game out of reach at 12-4.

Chesapeake-AA (8-4, 6-4) 140 011 5 – 12 10 3
Severna Park (11-2, 8-2) 200 011 0 – 4 6 4
Joe Seidler, Tommy Lewis (7) and Tyler Shadle; George Lesher, Jacob Way (7) and Garrett Whitaker
2B: CHES-Colton Spangler
HR: SP-Cameron Clark; CHES-Seidler
WP – Joe Seidler (3-0) LP – George Lesher (3-1)