Top-seeded Digital Harbor needed extra innings, but it was able to stop No. 8 Hereford from claiming an upset in the second round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association baseball playoffs on Monday.
It took multiple rallies, but Digital Harbor pulled out the victory in the bottom of the eighth inning when shortstop Tommy Fortman hit a single to drive in centerfielder Eli Winston for the winning run in the Rams' 9-8 victory at Swann Park. They did it all as a steady rain fell on Monday evening, creating an uneven and wet playing surface.
"They're such a great team," Fortman said of Hereford. "You could see in their faces they wanted it so much and they came back from three runs down in the top of the seventh. When they scored those three, we knew we had to come back and make the plays."
Hereford started the game by using a triple by Zack Walsh and a double by Eli Ginsburg to build a 4-0 lead in the first inning. But Digital Harbor came back over the next four innings to take an 8-4 lead.
But Hereford wouldn't give up. In the top of the seventh Hereford was still trailing 8-5, but rallied as its players and fans shouted encouragement. They scored runs by Sean Daniekzyk, Jay Patti and Zack Walsh on three walks, an error and a passed ball.
"We have a lot of heart," said Walsh, Hereford's catcher. "But they played well. They hit when it mattered. But we go out of here with our heads up, looking forward to next year."
Fortman added the Rams were inspired by Hereford's toughness.
"We don't play good competition like Hereford," Fortman said. "We play teams we usually beat by big scores. So when you play a team like Hereford, an equal team, it makes it more fun. It makes you get excited and want to win even more."