Potomac State Baseball wins Region XX Championship
Potomac State celebrates their 11th Region XX Baseball Championship in the last 14 years Monday at Hagerstown Community College after a 5-2 win over Harford Community College Photo by Michael Minnich
By Michael Minnich, Sports Editor- Mineral Daily News-Tribune firstname.lastname@example.org
HAGERSTOWN, Md.--The postseason can sometimes produce unexpected heroes.
Yesterday was no exception, as Adam Meeker, summoned off of the bench for his first at-bat of the NJCAA Region XX tournament with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, delivered a two-RBI single to carry the Potomac State Catamounts to a 5-2 win over the Harford Fighting Owls at Hagerstown Community College.
“He comes up in the biggest situation in the game...the two-strike approach that Coach [Don] Schafer teaches the hitters, he used it perfectly and got a huge hit for us right there,” said PSC head coach Doug Little. “Something that we preach to our guys as far as teamwork is that you never know when you're going to be called, but you've got to be ready for it.”
PSC finishes the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record and advances to host the Eastern District tournament on Friday through Sunday at Golden Park.
“It's huge,” said Little of the home-field advantage. “It's not going to be easy. The three teams coming in are very capable of winning it.”
Scott Fox worked around some early trouble to pick up the win, allowing two runs on five hits in eight innings of work.
Mason Fordyce retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save.
David Kimbrough and Connar Bastaich each picked up an RBI for the Cats, who move their record to 38-14.
Carlos Henri Ferre held PSC to two runs, one earned, on just three hits in six innings for Harford, but took a no-decision.
Harford was in business early, loading the bases on a hit by pitch and two singles to start the top of the first.
But the Fighting Owls only managed two runs on a fielder's choice ground ball and a sacrifice fly.
“He did a great job,” said Little of Fox's recovery on the mound. “In most games, it seems like at any level, there's more runs scored in the first inning than any other inning, and I think it's because the pitchers aren't ready yet and don't have a feel for the umpire's strike zone. But he did a good job. He minimized it to two runs there and settle in and pitch.”
Jamison Jones started the PSC first with a single, but was erased on a double play two batters later.
Another double play, this time on a throw back to second after a line drive to left, ended PSC's second inning.
With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the third, Fox retired Nick Freeberger on a fly ball to center.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Mike Eisel reached on an error, then Jones walked with two outs.
Kimbrough followed with an RBI single to halve the lead to 2-1, but, after a walk to Elliott McCummings loaded the bases, Tre Porter popped out to first to end the inning.
An error, a walk, and a stolen base gave Harford a great chance to extend their lead in the fifth with runners on second and third, but Jordan Glover fouled out and Jones snared Jerry Jerminski's fly ball to end the inning without any damage.
In the bottom of the sixth, PSC got even: McCummings and Porter walked, and Bastaich delivered a two-out RBI single.
“He's a hard-nosed kid,” said Little of Bastaich. “Back in the fall, he had some knee problems, and he worked his butt off to get better. He's still playing a little bit hurt...he's a guy that you love to have in the lineup because he competes.”
The Cats had a good look at taking the lead in the seventh against reliever Mike Torres.
Jamaal Windom singled with one out, moved to second on an error on the play, then moved to third when Jones reached on an error.
With one out, Kimbrough hit a ground ball: Windom broke for the plate, and was tagged out.
On top of that, Windom was ejected when the umpire judged that the contact Windom made with catcher Jerminski was excessive.
Harford got two-out singles from Jerminski and Freeberger in the top of the eighth, but Fox bore down, getting Rob Koski to bounce into a force out at third.
Porter led off the PSC eighth with a double, chasing Torres, and moved to third when Bastaich reached on an error with one out.
Alex Levitan was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Mike Eisel struck out, and Meeker was summoned to hit for Tre Kerns, who had replaced Windom in the field after the ejection.
On a 2-2 pitch, Meeker did his job, sending a sinking liner into center field.
Two runs scored, and Levitan came all the way around on an error.
“Unbelievable turn of events,” said Little.
Fordyce finished the job from there on a fly out, strikeout, and ground out.
It's the 11th Region XX crown in the last 14 years for Potomac State.