Baseball: Potomac State to host Region XX Play-In Game Saturday

Ryan LaRose

Ryan LaRose and the Potomac State Catamounts find themselves on the outside looking in at this year's Region XX Tournament. Potomac State will host a play-in game Saturday at Golden Park. Photo courtesy Raymond Burner

Keyser, WV- In a season that Potomac State could most describe as disappointing or frustrating; the Catamounts Baseball team now find themselves in the difficult position of having to qualify for this season's Region XX Tournament.

The Catamounts, who have won ten of the last twelve Region XX Championships, and finished third at the 2011 JUCO World Series find themselves on the outside looking in at this year's Region XX Tournament which will be held at Chesapeake College beginning May 11.

This season, due to a sub-par performance most of the season, the Catamounts find themselves entering the post-season in third place in Region XX, requiring the defending Region XX champs to play-in to this year's tournament.

On Saturday, May 5, at Golden Park, Chesapeake College will face off with Hagerstown Community College at 11:00 a.m. The winner will then face Potomac State with the winner advancing to the Region XX Tournament as the 4th seed.

The top 2 seeds, which are held by Harford Community College and Anne Arundel Community College, receive a bye into the Region XX tournament. The Region XV (New York) winner will play in the Region XX tournament and will receive no lower than the #3 seed.

Having to play-in is something that PSC may not have wanted, but they are prepared just the same. "We have been fortunate to have been in this situation only once before," said Head Coach Doug Little. "But by no means does this mean we are out of this thing. It just means it is a tougher road to get there."

In 2010, Potomac State faced the same path as they do this season as they were forced to win a play-in game over then Division 1 foe Garrett College. PSC then went on to down ASA (NY) to win the Region XX crown.

In order to get to the tournament PSC will look to lean on Zach Markel, as they have much of the season. The sophomore is leading the team in almost every offensive category including average, (.363); hits, (53) and RBI's (37). 

"All the success that Zach has had this season and last comes from the simple fact that he works hard," said PSC Assistant Coach Don Schafer. "He has made himself a good player and we look for him to continue that for us on Saturday."

Besides Markel, Potomac State has four other players hitting .300 or better including Ryan LaRose, (.357); Ryan Conner, (.354); Jake Potter, (.316) and Joel Rosencrance, (.304).

Potomac State has not yet announced who will be their starting pitcher, but in all likelihood it could be one of three starters: Brendan Miller, Michael Drye or Joel Rosencrance.

Potomac State split a pair of games from Hagerstown this season losing 4-3 early in the season at HCC and then winning at home 13-8 on April 6th. Potomac State also split with Chesapeake as the two teams played both games in the last two weeks.

PSC won at Golden Park on April 25th, by a score of 11-9. Then on Sunday Chesapeake turned the tables with a 10-2 win led by a complete game effort from Ryan Nichols.

Hagerstown is led at the plate by sophomore Josh Knupp who is hitting at a .344 clip. Jacob Kenney, (.333), Chris Kulik, (.329) and Eric Schanzenbacher, (.327) all come in the game hitting at .320 or higher.

Chesapeake is led by freshman Kameron Stewart who has a .378 batting average with 48 hits and 4 home runs. Matthew Schotanus is right behind him, as the speedy leadoff hitter is hitting .309. Brandon Burch is swinging a hot bat as well, as he has lifted his average to .400 with five home runs.

"Both of those teams have tons of talent," said Little. "It goes to show how good Region XX baseball is. On Saturday we will have three good teams battling it out for one spot."

The team that survives the play-in round will advance to face off with Harford Community College, who secured the number one seed, Anne Arundel Community College and the winner of Region XV. Region XV, out of the New York area will have their own play-in scenario this weekend as well as Monroe College will face off with ASA and Globe Teach to see who advances.