The buses had fired up just outside the stadium and fans who stuck it out in the drenched conditions were on the verge of filing toward the exits. There were two outs in the top of the seventh and Severna Park maintained a strong grip on a two-run lead in a Class 4A state semifinal match-up against Howard — a game they controlled from the onset.
Then, courtesy of some two-out magic spread over a series of wild events, everything turned on its heels, as Howard put its next four batters on base to complete the improbable.
For those who attended Tuesday night’s semifinal at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, it will be talked about for years to come as Howard scrambled with one out left in its season to overcome a two-run deficit and power past two-loss Severna Park into the state title game on Friday night in Aberdeen, 4-3.
“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Brian Jakubek said. “The fact that we battled hard with two outs in the last inning, came all the way back. We were struggling in the beginning there. But we finally came through in the end.”
Severna Park starter Cam Clark (6 2/3 innings, 6 H, 4 BB, 2 ER, 6 K) was one out away from polishing off a complete-game triumph — an outing plenty good enough to send the Falcons into the state title game. But then he reached his 105-pitch limit, forcing the Falcons to tap into the bullpen in the heat of the moment.
Clark had hit 103 pitches after picking up two outs, but on the third at-bat in the top of the seventh, Sam Jacobson lined a single that just got through the second base gap, forcing Clark out of the contest. Then everything snowballed after that. Matt Flynn ripped an RBI double into deep right-center field to make it 3-2, and in the following at-bat Jakubek sent the game-tying RBI-double to left-center field.
That’s when the No. 5 hitter, Cam Robinson, stepped to the plate. Two quick strikes went against him, but then, on the fourth pitch, Robinson barreled an emphatic RBI single of his own down the left field line to send a chugging Jakubek home.
“One of the best feelings I’ve ever had in baseball,” Robinson said. “Definitely the best. This right here.”
Severna Park then put a base runner on to start the bottom of the seventh, but the Lions corralled three quick outs after that, and concluded with a euphoric dogpile on top of reliever Gabe Delgado. Just like that, Howard launched itself into the Class 4A state title game against Montgomery County’s Northwest this Friday night at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
“Wild, man,” Howard coach Nick Hoffner said. “I’m just ready for Friday,”