Severn's baseball win worth celebrating

mmorea@capgaznews.com

All Severn baseball coach Bob Laffey wanted for his birthday was a win.

After the first inning, Laffey thought he might go home disappointed.

But the Admirals bats came alive in the second inning, with the locals scoring eight runs. With Alex Rozner going 3 for 3 with a two-run double and another run-scoring double, along with a two-run home run and Brendan Gauthier's run-scoring double and a three-run, game-ending blast, Severn defeated St. Vincent Pallotti, 20-8 in five innings on Thursday to advance in the loser's bracket of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference playoffs.

Severn will travel to Glenelg Country School on Friday in another elimination game. If the Admirals win, they will move on to the championship series where they will face top-seeded Boys' Latin. The Admirals will need to beat the Lakers twice to win the championship due to the double-elimination format.

"It's a mentality, it's a mindset that we needed to chip away and be tough. We had to work through that adversity and we did it," Laffey said. "It was a little scary there early on but it is a long game. We were afforded some time to chip away and our guys were able to do that. To get eight at one time was awesome but I was honestly hoping to just get one or two."

Laffey must not have expressed that to his hitters, as everyone in his lineup had at least one hit and everyone scored at least one run. Only two batters didn't drive in a run in Severn's 16-hit attack.

Down 6-0 heading to the bottom of the second, Ty Benz got things started in the pivotal half of the inning with a walk. After a strikeout, Thompson Davis singled and Everett Cortes followed with an RBI double. Gauthier then stroked an RBI double before a pop out to short. Rozner then drove in two with a double and Jordan Mathis drew an intentional walk and Tyrek Thornton walked to load the bases. Benz came up again and stroked a two-run single and Ethan O'Malley followed with another two-run single. A strikeout ended the eight-run outburst for the Admirals but starting and winning pitcher Jimmy Riley had some breathing room.

Gauthier made a fantastic running catch in deep left-center field to end the Panthers' threat in the third inning. In the Severn third, Cortes drew a walk and Gauthier singled to open the frame. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Ryan Jack delivered a base hit that scored the pair and Rozner came up next and belted the first pitch down the left field line for a two-run round-tripper. Mathis then doubled and after two men were put out, O'Malley lined a run-scoring double but got caught trying to stretch it into a triple for the third out. That made the score 13-6 after three innings of play.

"I knew their pitching wasn't up to their standards so I knew they were going to throw a lot of fastballs down the middle to the middle inside of the plate," Rozner said. "On the home run, I knew that guy was grooving in fastballs to the first two batters, so I kind of sat back on the fastball and took it out. Today I played for the seniors because I knew this was their last game here at Kinder, so I played my heart out for them."

Pallotti got a run back in the fourth but the Severn bats weren't finished. Davis led off with a walk and moved to second on an error on a pick-off attempt. After a strikeout, Gauthier walked and Jack singled to score another run. Rozner then laced his second two-run double and Thornton added a run-scoring double a batter later to make the score 17-7 heading to the fifth.

Pallotti managed a run in the top of the fifth to keep the game going, but in the bottom half of the inning, O'Malley started things off with a base hit. After another strikeout, Cortes walked and Gauthier followed with a three-run shot down the line in left for the first home run of his high school career and the game-ending blow.

"I've been hot these last couple games, right at the right time, so I was just really going up there trying to get a pitch that I could get out into the outfield," Gauthier said. "I was doing it for Coach (Laffey) for his birthday. He told me to. All I needed to do was get a pitch and hit it out and I was able to do that."

Now Laffey can celebrate his birthday happily and prepare his team for the quick turnaround to play the Dragons, who beat them earlier this week, 4-3.

"Our offense has been capable of doing what they did today all year," Laffey said. "Every man, one through nine, we have guys that can hit the baseball and do jobs. It's contagious and it's a wave of energy. It just takes the first one to break the ice and then we just have to continue to execute and follow from there."

WP: Riley. LP: Zito. 2B: SVP - Cordon; SE - Rozner 2, Cortes, Gauthier, Mathis, O'Malley, Thornton. HR: SE - Rozner, Gauthier. RBI: SVP - Cordon 3, Zito 2; SE - Rozner 5, Gauthier 4, Jack 3, O'Malley 3, Benz 2, Cortes, Thornton.

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