— That one big hit eluded Chesapeake all Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Playing in the state final for the second straight year, Chesapeake left 10 runners in scoring position and fell to Poolesville, 4-3, in the Class 3A state final at Ripken Stadium. The Cougars left the bases loaded twice and stranded at least one runner in scoring position in six of seven innings.
"We had a lot of opportunities," Chesapeake coach Ken King said. "Sometimes that moment just jumps up on you. You don't get to feel it all the time, so it's new and you tighten up a little bit."
While the Cougars were busy leaving runners on base, Poolesville struck quickly with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning off Cougars' starter Joe Seidler. The Falcons maintained the two-run lead to the fourth, when after getting out of another bases-loaded jam, Colin Metz doubled with two outs in the bottom of the inning to make it a 4-0 game heading to the fifth.
Chesapeake finally got on the board in the fifth. After an error and a walk, Tommy McNamara singled to left to score Colton Spangler, while Blake Rebstock came in to score following an overthrow. The Cougars added another run later in the inning on a wild pitch, but left two more runners in scoring position to up their total to nine runners left in scoring position through the first five innings.
After going down in order in the sixth, McNamara led off the top of the seventh with a single and his courtesy runner eventually reach third base with two outs after Bobby Quesenberry singled with two strikes. In a fitting end to the game, though, a ground ball to second base ended the game and gave Poolesville its first state title.
Chesapeake lost in the state final for the second straight year by the same 4-3 score.
"We don't play this game to finish second. Today wasn't our day I suppose," King said. "We're going to try as hard as we can to come back again next year, and who knows, maybe we'll get the 'W' that time."
Mike Cybert, Seidler and McNamara each had two hits for the Cougars, who stranded five runners on base through the first two innings.
Following a rain delay that pushed back the start time for the Class 2A state final, the 3A final didn't start until 10 p.m. and ended shortly after midnight. Even though there was a steady rain for nearly two hours, the field was not covered with a tarp, so the grounds crew needed extra time to make the field playable. The 2A final between Fallston and Middletown started around 7 p.m., the original start time for the 3A final.
In addition to some players the team lost throughout the year for various reasons, the Cougars will graduate seven, but they'll return two of their top pitchers in Seidler and Dylan Young as they look to make another run next year.
"I'm proud of our guys. We've dealt with ridiculous adversity this year," King said. "We still made it here, though."
WP: Carmack (3-0); LP: Seidler (7-2). 2B: PO - Metz. RBI: CH - McNamara; PO - Metz 2, Pearre 2.