Chesapeake baseball earns another shot

Bob Hough
Contact Reporterbhough@capgaznews.com

After falling in last year's state final, all Chesapeake wanted this year was a chance to play again for a state title.

Thanks to the formula they used all season, the Cougars are in the state final for the second year in a row.

Dylan Young pitched five strong innings and Joe Seidler had the key hit during a five-run third inning, as Chesapeake advanced to the state final with a 5-1 victory over C. Milton Wright on Tuesday in a Class 3A state semifinal at Joe Cannon Stadium.

Chesapeake (20-3) will face Montgomery County's Poolesville on Saturday night at Ripken Stadium. The Cougars are in the state final for the seventh time and are looking for their third title. Poolesville is in the state final for the first time in school history after winning its second region title in four years.

"This is just a step," Chesapeake coach Ken King said. "After our region final win, we didn't go crazy because we knew that was just a step. That's just our mentality, and that's how it's been all year."

After they left runners on second and third in the first, the Cougars broke through with five runs in the bottom of the third. After they loaded the bases with none out, Seidler singled in a pair of runs to make it 2-0. They added a third run when Blake Rebstock grounded to second with a runner on third, but the throw to the plate was dropped. The umpire initially called Seidler out, but changed the call after meeting with the other umpires. Tommy McNamara plated another run with a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt, followed by a single from Young that scored another run.

"I thought we should have had at least one run in the first inning," Seidler said. "It all worked out. Getting that first run usually puts the pressure on them."

After Young retired the first 11 batters he faced, the Mustangs got on the board in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Zach Walter doubled for the first C.M. Wright hit of the game. After two straight walks loaded the bases, Tyler Leach singled to right. Walter scored easily to get the Mustangs on the board, but Cory Poulsen was cut down at the plate to end the inning. Bobby Quesenberry delivered a perfect strike to Mike Cybert, who relayed the ball to McNamara, who applied the tag to Poulsen.

"Anytime you lose a run at the plate, it can become a momentum-changer," King said. "It can become a momentum-changer the other way, and it worked for us."

Outside of the fourth inning, Young set the Mustangs down in order in his other four innings before giving way to Colby Buckheit, who pitched two perfect innings. Young struck out three and walked a pair, but more importantly, was efficient with his pitch count to be available if needed in any role on Saturday.

"I knew the defense was going to make plays, so I was just pitching to contact," Young said. "We knew it was going to be tough with the new pitch rules, but we have a bunch of guys behind me and Joe who go out and do the job every day."

Poolesville, which advanced to the state final with a 2-1 victory over defending 3A state champion Huntingtown in the other semifinal, is 17-2 and enters the state final on an eight-game winning streak. The Falcons' two losses have come by one run, including an 8-7 loss to Montgomery Blair to open the season.

"They're obviously a tough team," King said. "They're seasoned, they don't give in, they play good defense and they get good at-bats, so we'll see."

WP: Young (6-0); LP: Outten (2-2). 2B: CH - Oxyer; CMW - Walter. RBI: CMW - Leach; CH - Seidler 2, McNamara, Young.

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