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Mount St. Joseph senior Mike Rosen had never hit a home run in his four seasons with the baseball program when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 2-2 tie against visiting Gilman.

After taking a curve for a ball, Rosen drilled a soaring three-run home run over the 340-foot sign in left, capping the Gaels’ 5-run inning.

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Senior St. Joe starting pitcher John Torroella, who retired the final 14 batters, including the final 9 of 12 by strikeout, closed out unranked Mount St. Joseph’s 5-2 victory over No. 4 Gilman (19-9, 12-5 MIAA A Conference) in a game delayed an hour and 34 minutes because of lightning.

It was only the third hit of the game for the Gaels (16-8, 10-6).

“That’s my first home run at Mt. St. Joe, I’m usually a gap to gap hitter, line drives, but I got one in the air for once,” said Rosen, who was 0-for-2 with a walk at that point against starter Peter Heubeck. “Third at bat, I got jammed a little bit and they brought in the new kid (Ryan Williamson) and I knew he was going to be a little bit slower then Heubeck, so he started me off with a curve ball outside, so I knew that fastball was going to come and I just kind of turned on it.”

Mount St. Joseph players and coaches return to the bench after senior Mike Rosen blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie on the way to a 5-2 win over Gilmand
Mount St. Joseph players and coaches return to the bench after senior Mike Rosen blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie on the way to a 5-2 win over Gilmand (Craig Clary / Baltimore Sun)

The Gaels had tied the game after trailing 2-0 since the second inning.

Dylan Wyandt walked and Ripken Reese was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth.

Heubeck had allowed two hits and no earned runs, while walking four and hitting two in the first five innings, and he wriggled out of a bases loaded two-out jam in the third and bases juiced two-out out mogul in the fourth.

“That guy (Heubeck) is a competitor and every time he’s pitched against us, we’ve struggled against him. He deals, but when we get the opportunity to face somebody else, we get that big timely hit and we did it tonight.” Kraska said. “We had a ton of opportunities and we just needed that one big hit and Rosen gave us that.”

After Heubeck exited, Josh Lantz sacrifice bunted Wyandt and Reese to second and third against Williamson.

After Justin Looney walked, Ethan Grieb’s unassisted ground out to third scored Wyandt with the first run.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Looney stole third and scored when the throw sailed into left field.

“He (Looney) is one of our best hitters and he’s one of our fastest runners and he’s aggressive on the base,” Mount St. Joe coach Phil Kraska said.

Torroella made his impact felt the most after the second inning.

After two strikeouts to start the second inning Gilman’s Gabe Gonzales reached on an infield hit and advanced to second when the throw went past first.

Ryan Martinez scored him with a liner to right and he scored when Mike Mallas drilled a double in the gap in left center.

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Six of the first nine Gilman batters made loud outs, including doubles in the first by Williamson and Bishop, to lead off the game.

The Greyhounds didn’t score in the first because catcher Mooney picked off the lead runner at second.

After Mallas’ double, Torroella retired 16 of the final 17 batters and fanned seven in a row at one point.

He allowed only six hits and struck out 12.

Mount St. Joe leadoff hitter Justin Looney, who will play at Longwood University next season, warms up while watching Gilman pitcher Peter Heubeck throw warmup tosses before the game delayed by an hour and 34 minutes. St. Joe won, 5-2.
Mount St. Joe leadoff hitter Justin Looney, who will play at Longwood University next season, warms up while watching Gilman pitcher Peter Heubeck throw warmup tosses before the game delayed by an hour and 34 minutes. St. Joe won, 5-2. (Craig Clary / Baltimore Sun)

“In that first and second inning the ball just seemed to be flying off the bat no matter what, but he settled in,” Kraska said. “John is one of the best competitors I’ve ever coached. He wants the tough games and he wants to put the team on his back and he wants to be that senior leader on a young team, so I’m incredibly proud of how he’s performed the whole year and especially tonight.”

Torroella, who will play at Brown University next year, was equally excited.

“I’ll be completely honest, it was a close game the whole way, I knew I was in my groove and I was working and I just knew we were getting base runners every time, I just knew we needed one or two clutch base hits and that would be the game. I knew as soon as we got the lead I was super confident. Mike came up huge and I’m so happy right now.”

The win clinched one of the six playoff spots in the MIAA tournament and they have an opportunity to get a higher seed.

“If we win out which I’m confident that we could do I think we could be in the hunt for third place,” said Kraska, whose squad has games against St. Paul’s at home Friday and at John Carroll on Tuesday.

Calvert Hall (14-2) leads the conference standings, followed by Gilman (12-5), Loyola Blakefield (11-5), McDonogh (9-5), St. Joe (10-6) and Spalding (9-7).

“We want to be playing our best baseball going into the playoffs and that is what we are doing right now,” Kraska said.

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