Severn School junior ace Ryan Jack pitched six innings of three-hit baseball, Sunday afternoon at Harford Community College, and drove in three runs at the plate as the Admirals defeated top-seeded Boys’ Latin, 7-3, in the MIAA B Conference baseball finals. The victory forced a decisive “if” game in the double elimination tournament, as the Admirals and Lakers will square off one more time, Monday evening (7:00 p.m.) at HCC, for the title.
Severn (18-8) broke on top of the defending champs in the top of the second with a pair of runs off BL starter Zach Grace.
Thompson Davis opened the inning with a looping single to right-center and moved to second on a sac bunt by Everett Cortes, before coming home to score on a line single to center by Brendan Gauthier for the first run of the game. After Grace struck out Ty Benz for the second out, Gauthier took off for third just prior to Alex Rozner bouncing a slow grounder towards second, and never stopped, rounding third and scoring as Rozner beat out an infield hit. The Admirals reloaded the basis with a walk and a hit batsman, but Grace got the final out before any further damage was done.
Boys’ Latin (19-7) finally got its first hit in the bottom of the third as Matt Luterman stroked a one out double to the opposite field, one-hopping the left-centerfield fence near the 355 marker. Jack struck out the next batter and should have escaped the inning unscathed, when he coaxed an infield pop fly off the bat of Mark Lopez. Indecision on who should take the ball, however, led to it being dropped by Benz, allowing Luterman to race home with the Lakers’ first run.
Severn wasted absolutely no time getting that run back, however, as catcher Ethan O’Malley led-off the top of the fourth and lined a hanging curveball over the elevated extension to the left-field fence for a booming home run.
“They’ve been throwing us a lot of breaking balls all year, so I was kind of looking for that,” said O’Malley of the pitch he hit out. “The first at bat I got two of them and he came back with one in the second at bat. I got it and it felt pretty good.”
In the fifth, Severn scored two more. Benz and Rozner started the inning with back-to-back singles and, after two were down, Jack and Davis added RBI singles.
Jack struggled in the fifth, walking three after two were down, and Sam Grace got one run in with a Baltimore chop infield hit. Jack, however, left the bases jacked when he struck out Marquise Washington for the final out.
The hard-throwing right-hander gave a lot of the credit for his success to his battery mate, O’Malley.
“It felt good,” said Jack of his effort on the mound. “Ethan called a great game back there. I only shook him off maybe two times. We were on the same page the whole game, which helped a lot.”
Gauthier led off the Severn sixth with a walk and Benz followed with a single. Both later scored on a two-run single by Jack, as the Admirals went up 7-2.
“At the plate, I was just looking for a pitch to drive and was fortunate enough to get two to drive and did the job,” added Jack about his offensive performance.
After striking out the first two BL hitters in the sixth, Jack allowed his seventh walk of the game. It proved costly when Cole Jarrett blooped a fly ball into right field which fell in for an RBI triple, pulling the Lakers within four at 7-3, but he escaped further harm by getting Luterman to fly to right for the final out.
Severn went in order in the top of the seventh and Admiral skipper Robert Laffey elected to put O’Malley on the mound to close out the game in the seventh and his senior delivered with a 1-2-3 inning to close out the win.
Despite the seven walks, Jack stayed away from the big inning with eight strike outs in his six innings and allowed just two earned runs.
“That’s what Ryan can do,” said Severn manager Robert Laffey of his starting pitcher. “It’s taken him a while to put the complete package together, but he picked the right time to do it for sure. I am so incredibly proud of him.
“He didn’t want me to take the ball from him, but it was probably the responsible thing to do. I didn’t want to do it, but he was a bulldog and I’ve never seen him quite that focused, both on the mound and at the plate.”
Boys’ Latin won the two regular season meetings between the teams by a combined margin of 19 runs, but, according to Jack, you can put that aside at this point.
“We know in baseball anything can happen on any day and we have the talent,” said Jack. “The other two times, they came out fast and we just didn’t answer at all. Last year we beat them twice in the regular season and they beat us twice in the playoffs. We’re going to do the same thing this year.”
MIAA B CONFERENCE BASEBALL FINALS
(AT HARFORD COMMUNITY COLLEGE)
SEVERN 7, NO. 20 BOYS’ LATIN 3
SEV 002 122 0 — 7 10 2
BL 001 011 0 — 3 3 2
WP-Jack LP-Z. Grace
Jack, O’Malley (7) and O’Malley, Mathis (7); Z. Grace, Woodward (6), Mygatt (6) and S. Grace.
2B: SEV-Gauthier; BL-Luterman.