June 7, 2011
Damascus Post 171 3- Sandy Spring Post 68 2
It comes as no surprise that Damascus Post 171 would be competitive if not dominant this season in Montgomery County American Legion baseball. Post 171 pulls from 2010 4A State Champion Sherwood, perennial 3A powerhouse Damascus and WCAC tycoons Good Counsel and St. John’s. But a scrappy Sandy Spring squad hung with the presumed over-dog and pushed Damascus to the brink of defeat before giving way to Post 171’s pitching and a late offensive serge on picturesque Tuesday night at Olney Manor Park.
Damascus jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when catcher TJ Brockaway drove in rightfielder Anthony Papio, who reached scoring position via a double off the rightfield wall. Then in the fourth, Chris Betts teed off on a high Matt Kogan fastball and drove it over the leftfield fence giving Post 171 a 2-0 lead.
“I didn’t really have an approach up there tonight,” said Papio. “I just went up there swinging and found something to hit. I’m seeing the ball alright.”
All the while Mike Sarecky had it working on the mound for Post 171. The recent Sherwood graduate struck out five in five and two-thirds innings of work while walking only one and surrendering four hits.
“The first thing we noticed [before the season] was the depth in our pitching staff was much better than it was last year,” said Damascus manager Tommy Davis.
But Sandy Spring eventually got to Sarecky in the sixth, manufacturing two unearned runs off a Shaun Whalen single and Kevin Stein double that tied the ballgame. Davis pulled Sarecky and brought in reliever Cody Jacobs who got pinch hitter Sam Kane to line-out to end the inning and strand the go-ahead run on second.
Damascus answered in the very next frame after Brockaway reached on a wild-pitch strikeout and was eventually driven home by Nick Kennedy with two outs and a two-ball, two-strike count, giving Post 171 a 3-2 lead.
Post 68 loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but could not plate the tying run as Jacobs retired the side by striking out the Sandy Spring cleanup hitter.
Damascus showed signs of life early by getting off to a quick start and looked to have shucked the offensive woes that have hounded them this young season. But the men in red stranded six runners in scoring position throughout the contest and were docile at best along the base paths, swiping merely one base due to defensive indifference and halting and first and second instead of stretching potential singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Davis was not happy with the offensive output.
“With the lineup we have one through nine [in the order], we’ve got to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position,” he said.
Players of the game:
Damascus: 1) Chis Betts—2-3, double and homerun
2) Anthony Papio—2-3, double, run scored
3) Mike Sarecky—5 2/3 IP, 5 Ks
Sandy Spring: 1) Matt Kogan—6 IP, 2 Ks, 1 BB
2) Kevin Stein—2-3, double, RBI
3) Shaun Whalen—1-3, single, RBI
Cissel Saxon Post 41 @ Gaithersburg Post 295, Friday 6/10/11, 5:30, Seneca Valley HS
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