PSC to defend Eastern District title
Members of the Potomac State College baseball team rush the field after the final out was recorded in their 11-9 victory over Hagerstown Community College in the Region XX title game on Sunday in Hagerstown. Potomac State will play for the Eastern District title and a spot in the NJCAA Division I World Series this Friday and Saturday at Golden Park in Keyser. Tribune photo/Christine Kesecker
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - This is starting to become a habit.
For the fifth time in six years, the Potomac State College baseball team captured the Region XX Tournament championship on Sunday, defeating host school Hagerstown, 11-9, to advance to the Eastern District Championship.
The Catamounts, the defending Eastern District champion, will take on Louisburg (N.C.) Community College and Briarcliffe (N.Y.) Community College in a double-elimination tournament this weekend at Golden Park in Keyser.
The winner of the Eastern District will earn a spot in the NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The Catamounts, now 29-11, won the Region XX title with a tremendous balance of pitching and clutch hitting.
In their three victories, the Cats got two complete games from their starting pitchers - including a no-hitter from Enrique Garcia on Saturday - and they outscored the opposition 30-11.
"Our kids worked really hard. They stayed focused during the tournament," said PSC head coach Doug Little, who's been at the helm for the past five Region XX titles. "We beat two good teams to win the tourney. We accomplished one of our goals this season, and that was to win the Region XX title."
In Friday's opener, Brett McClain notched a complete-game victory in a 10-2 win over Hagerstown.
On Saturday, Garcia was simply dominant in shutting down Anne Arundel in PSC's 9-0 victory.
Garcia didn't allow a hit over eight innings of work (the game was shortened to eight because of the eight-run mercy rule). He struck out 10 and walked three.
"He started off slow with his control, but from the fourth inning on he started getting into a rhythm," Little said. "He got stronger as the game went on and he pitched pretty smart."
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when Potomac State finally cracked the scoreboard with a three spot.
The Cats tacked on four more runs in the sixth and then capped the game with two in the eighth.
Eric Saffell went 4-for-5 on the day with four singles, while Bill Wooten was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
J.T. Osburn had an RBI double and Frankfort High School product Lorin Noel provided the two runs in the eighth inning with a pinch-hit single.
Hagerstown eliminated Anne Arundel from the tournament with a 10-9 victory in the second game of the day, setting up the showdown with Potomac State on Sunday.
The Hawks had to beat PSC twice in order to claim the crown, but they never got the chance, as Little's squad took care of business in Game 1.
The Catamounts wasted absolutely no time in giving starter Joe Stupka an early lead, putting up four runs in the first inning.
Justin Dailey and Brent Lockhart were both hit by pitches to start the inning, and Wooten walked to load the bases.
Osburn then drew another walk to force home the first run of the game. Eric Saffell then lifted a sacrifice fly to score Lockhart, and Wooten later scored on a wild pitch to give PSC a 3-0 lead without the benefit of a base hit.
Ryan Anderson collected PSC's first hit of the game, a single that drove in Osburn for the four-run cushion.
Hagerstown rallied with three runs in the second inning on a solo home run by Matt Tedrick and a two-out, two-run triple by Nathan Himes.
But Potomac State came right back with three runs in the home half of the inning on RBI doubles by Dailey and Saffell and an RBI single by Wooten.
Hagerstown got one run back in the fourth to make it 7-4, but the Catamounts put up another three spot in the bottom half.
Osburn drilled a two-run double and Tino Sloboda collected an RBI groundout to make it 10-4.
Potomac State carried an 11-5 lead into the ninth inning, and Hagerstown made it interesting when Lowell Coats delivered a two-out, three-run triple to make it 11-9. The Hawks then put runners on first and third, but Zack Thomas came in to record the final out and pick up the save.
Stupka went seven innings, allowing just three hits, striking out 11 and walking two to pick up the victory.
Dailey, Wooten, Osburn, Saffell and Garcia were named to the All-Region XX Tournament team.
"We've gotten better," said Little. "We've always been a team that starts off very slowly. History has proven that we finish strong. Usually at the end of the year, teams are breaking down and we're just hitting our stride."