BERLIN – Most everyone has heard the expression, “third time’s a charm,” and going into the MPSSAA 3A East region semifinal on May 18 against an undefeated James M. Bennett squad, the Stephen Decatur baseball team hoped that was true.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, this third time was not a charm as they suffered a season-ending 6-0 loss to the Clippers.
After falling twice to the Clippers in regular season play, Stephen Decatur head coach Rich Ferro asked his players nothing more than to play their best. “I wanted us to play like we deserved to be there,” he said.
Despite a solid pitching effort by starter Mike O’Neill, Bennett pitcher Cannan Cropper stymied the Seahawks’ bats, striking out nine over seven innings. O’Neill held his own on the mound, tallying six strikeouts before giving way to reliever Steve Ruggiere in the sixth inning.
Bennett scored early and often by taking advantage of timely hitting in addition to six stolen bases and six sacrifice hits. On the other hand, Stephen Decatur was limited to just four hits in the contest. Connor Malloy led the squad with two singles.
Offensively the Seahawks’ had few scoring opportunities but threatened late in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the top of the sixth, Kyler Clifton lined a single into left field to give the Seahawks life.
After tagging up on a fly ball, Clifton tried to test the Clippers’ arms and charged for third but was tagged out after he over-slid the bag and ended the inning. Down to its final three outs, Decatur put runners on first and second with no outs, but Cropper struck out the next two batters then got freshman Chase Corsey to line out to left field for the final out.
Ferro had high praise for his team, despite the loss, “We are not the same team that we were in the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’ve grown tremendously.”
He said twice this season Bennett run-ruled the Seahawks.
“Going seven innings today was a small accomplishment in itself,” said Ferro. Decatur finishes the season with an overall record of 10-6.