In the top of the seventh inning at Oakland Mills on May 15, Marriotts Ridge took a 3-2 lead on an RBI ground ball by leadoff man Jake Bender, plating Matt Marinelli who had led off the inning with a single.
At the time, Connor Delaney — the Mustangs No. 5 hitter — thought the run would be enough for ace Eric Brown and the solid Marriotts Ridge defense.
"I definitely trusted our defense ... but I knew any more runs we would get would be insurance runs," Delaney said. "I was confident in our defense, but we'll take more runs any time."
Three batters later, after a strikeout and a pair of intentional walks to Marriotts Ridge's No. 3 and 4 hitters, Delaney had a chance to deliver those runs, and came through with a game-breaking grand slam en route to a 7-4 Marriotts Ridge win in the 2A South semifinals.
"He threw a good curveball, I just kind of waited and I made nice contact and it went out of the park," said Delaney, who had grounded out in his previous two at bats. "Two defensive teams, it was a heck of a baseball game and I was just happy to be here playing. It was a lot of fun, it doesn't get much better than this."
In the bottom of the seventh, Ben Hale and Joe Zayatz — Oakland Mills' No. 1 and 2 hitters — hit back-to-back solo home runs to cut Marriotts Ridge's lead to three with no outs, but then reliever Michael Dorsch came on to retire the last three batters in order on a pair of strikeouts around a ground out.
Zayatz pitched the complete game, allowing only one run through the first five innings, and hit two solo home runs and a double off of the center field fence.
"There's a lot of excitement in the school ... that was probably one of the biggest crowds for a high school game I've seen in awhile, especially for a regional semifinal," coach Brian Rau said. "We had runners in scoring position all day but could never get the key base hit."
Oakland Mills set a school record for wins this season with 17, and has now won 28 over the past two seasons after going 6-54 in the three seasons prior.
Marriotts Ridge will now visit Patuxent, a 1-0 winner over Lackey, in the 2A South regional championship on Friday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.
The Mustangs won back-to-back regional championships in 2007 and 2008.
MR (15-7) 001 001 5 - 7 8 1
OM (17-4) 101 000 2 - 4 7 2
Brown, Dorsch (7) and Carson. Zayatz and Hale.
2B: OM — Zayatz, Russell. MR — Carson.
HR: OM — Zayatz (2), Hale. MR — Delaney.
3A East regional semifinals
Reservoir edged defending state champion J.M. Bennett, 6-5, avenging a 10-0 loss in last year's regional championship game.
The Gators took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Cody Morris, then chased starting pitcher Ben Turner with three more runs in the fourth.
The Clippers put the first four runners on base in the bottom of the first inning, but Reservoir catcher Danny O'Hagan and second baseman Joey Janush caught two runners stealing in that inning to stifle the rally.
Bennett got one run back in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 4-1.
In the top of the sixth, Reservoir scored twice more, including a big run-scoring double by Jack Barry.
The Clippers, winners of back-to-back state championships, finally came to life in the sixth, scoring two runs to make it 6-3. Down to its final three outs, Bennett scored two more in the bottom of the seventh, including a double by Mike Jean Charles and a triple by Josh Wyatt to make it a one-run game, but Reservoir got the final out on a fly ball to left fielder Paul Quattrone.
The Gators will now visit Stephen Decatur, a 5-4 winner over River Hill, on Friday at 4 p.m. for the regional championship. Reservoir has never won a regional title.
MIAA B Conference
Glenelg Country 6, St. Marys 4
With its 6-4 win over top-seeded St. Marys on May 15 at Joe Cannon Stadium, Glenelg Country School avenged the loss which prevented it from winning the regular season MIAA B Conference title, and earned the Dragons a trip to the B Conference championship game on Sunday, May 19 at 1:30 against St. Marys or Boys Latin.
St Marys (25-2) held a 4-1 lead after five innings, but Glenelg Country (18-2) scored four runs in the top of the sixth to go ahead, 6-5. Colby Manekin, Will Seiferth and Jack Dougherty (RBI) started the inning with back-to-back-to-back base hits, and then Max Godwin hit an RBI ground out. Dylan Farnella then beat out an infield single, and Matt Sheehan drove in Dougherty with another ground out.
The Dragons loaded the bases on a Logan Smith single and a Cameron Clifton walk, chasing St. Marys starting pitcher Chase Gorski. Leadoff man Miguel Flores was then hit by the first pitch to drive in the go-ahead run, giving Dragons starting pitcher Jake Figueroa (8 hits, 4 runs, 3 strikeouts) the victory.
Manekin earned the save by pitching the last 1 2/3 innings, and was aided by a diving catch by shortstop Dylan Farnella in the last inning.
Flores, Manekin, Seiferth and Sheehan each had two hits for the Dragons, and Ryan Davis had two hits for St. Marys.