Mount Saint Joseph’s Jack Bahouth a belted game-winning hit to deep left-center field that scored Matt Callahan from second in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Gaels to a 5-4 victory over John Carroll in a key Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference baseball game.
Bahouth’s hit came after Callahan walked and Mason Nemec singled.
“I just knew I was looking for something to hit and made sure not to miss it,” Bahouth said. “We were in a good position to win with no outs, runner on second, and I’m just looking to do some damage.”
John Carroll came into the game alone in third place in the conference and the Gaels were one of four teams tied for fourth. The top six teams make the playoffs and the Gaels hold the tiebreaker over the Patriots because they have beaten them twice.
“I’ve never seen it this close in the league in 15 years,” said Mount Saint Joseph coach Phil Kraska, who praised the way his team rallied from a 3-1 deficit after three innings. “This is what you want to do. The regular season, you want to figure the things out and once you get there, you want to be hot going in and I think a lot of that stuff is clicking for us right now. So we’re real proud of our guys.”
Bahouth drove in two runs, Nemec was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Drew Rybinski had two doubles to lead the Gaels. Frank Adamski was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Casey Carpenter had an RBI for John Carroll.
“I think we hit barrels all day long, but a lot of times we were hitting right at guys,” Kraska said. “Frank Adamski at third base is an amazing fielder, so he took a couple away from us there and we made some mistakes today, but we were able to get the job done.”
The Gaels scored in the first, but the Patriots rallied with three runs in the third with RBI hits from Adamski and Casey Carpenter.
John Carroll had a chance to expand the lead in the top of the third when Miguel Leon reached on an error, stole second and advanced to third when the throw went into center field. But the threat ended when MSJ staring pitcher Nolan Zenkewicz struck out the side.
“Tip the cap, the guy did a great job, but in that situation with a runner on third nobody out, you’ve got to be able to put a bat on a ball. So hats off to him for being able to get out of it and its certainly a chance to reflect for us as to how we can improve and get the job done,” John Carroll coach Darrion Siler said.
Zenkewicz allowed five hits in six innings and struck out three before giving way to reliever Payton Youngbar in the seventh. Youngbar pitched a perfect inning and earned the victory.
“Zenkewicz pitched a helluva game. He gave everything out there,” Kraska said. “This is a great hitting team and he got them offbalanced and kept us in the game despite all the mistakes we made. So I’m real proud of him, and Youngbar comes in and shuts the door right at the meat of their order.”
The Gaels cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth after a leadoff single by Nemec and two-out double by Rybinski. They took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs. Jack Bieda was hit by a pitch and Keegan Plummer and Callahan walked before a run scored on an error and another on a sacrifice fly by Bahouth.
“We had one error that ended up costing us and I think we probably get out of that fourth inning with a tie game,” Siler said.
John Carroll tied the game in the top of the sixth after a leadoff single by Leon and RBI groundout by pinch hitter Tyler Martin.
The Gaels looked ready to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth after a double by Rybinski and walk to Tyler Holton, but pitcher Pierce Quinn picked the runner off second and the rally died.
“That was a called play,” Siler said. “We had worked through that and it was just something we were looking to maybe see if we can manufacture an out in a situation where they are likely going to be bunting and hopefully aggressive with a runner on second trying to take an extra 90 [feet].”
The Gaels’ win puts them in good position to make the playoffs, depending on what happens in the final regular season games.
“I believe it puts us in the playoffs,” said Bahouth. “The beginning of the season was a little bit shaky, our hitting really wasn’t coming together, we weren’t stringing hits together, but since we played them we’ve been getting on top the other team and just hitting the ball hard every chance we have.”
The Gaels have won four of their last six, with the regular-season finale coming on Monday at first-place Archbishop Spalding (8-4).
John Carroll hosts Calvert Hall in its final regular season game on Monday.
“We’ve got a baseball game coming up Monday and that’s what we are focused on,” Siler said. “We are focused on getting ourselves ready to play that game and play baseball the way we know how to play it and leave it all out on the field. I really don’t pay attention to the standings.”