To win a championship, preparation has to meet opportunity. If you call Jerry Torrence anything, call him prepared.
Torrence used his opportunity to hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fifth to give Gerstell Academy its first baseball title with a 6-4 win over three-time defending champion Boys’ Latin in the MIAA B Conference Championship on Tuesday at Harford Community College.
“All year, we’ve preached throw strikes and defense, throw strikes and defense, and today they paid off for us,” said Gerstell coach Cap Poklemba. “I told our freshmen that, at sometime during the playoffs, they would have to grow up and stop being freshmen. Today they did, and Torrence in particular did.”
After leading 1-0 on a run they scratched out in the first, the Falcons stumbled in the top of the fith. After a strikeout by starter Graham Vaeth opened the inning, the Lakers got singles from Harry Genth, Jackson Fishel. The next batter, Josh Butler, singled up the middle, which allowed both Genth and Fishel to score to give Boys’ Latin a 2-1 lead, and chased Vaeth from the mound.
Logan Satti entered the game for Gerstell and, after a groundout, allowed a single to Charlie Godin to give the Lakers a 3-1 lead.
“We are very resilient,” said Poklemba. “I knew we had another run in us.”
They sure did.
Vaeth and Reece Early singled to begin the inning, and a walk to Chris Hagan loaded the bases. Lakers starter Sam Grace looked like he may get out of the inning when he struck out Satti and Tyler Stuck, but then the bats really came alive for Gerstell (17-7).
Elias Rimel singled to score Vaeth, and the bases remained loaded. On the first pitch, Torrence tripled to right center, scoring Early, Hagan and Rimel to give a 5-3 lead.
With Daniel Burns up, Grace threw a wild pitch, which plated Torrence and ran the lead to 6-3 after the in the bottom of the fifth.
Boys’ Latin (19-7) began the top of the seventh with a double by Fishel, and then moved him along to third on a Butler pop-up to right field for the first out. Fishel scored on a groundout to short, to cut the margin to 6-4, with two outs.
After singles by Charlie Godin and Ian McAslan, Poklemba decided to make a change.
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He called for Early, Gerstell’s senior ace who tossed a complete game in Monday’s elimination game for the Falcons. Gerstell beat BL 6-3 to face Tuesday’s final.
“I had talked to Reece before the game, and he told me he still had an inning in him,” said Poklemba. “I knew that if there was anyone I wanted to have in that situation for us, it was Reece.”
Early, a Navy commit, threw five pitches to Eric Gazin, before striking him out on a fastball to end the game, and set off a wild celebration.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Early of the title. “We have such a small school, and they were all here for us. I’m glad we got to share this with them.”
Boys’ Latin 000 030 1 — 4 10 1
Gerstell 100 050 x — 6 8 0
BL-Grace and Windle; G-Vaeth, Satti (5), Early (7) and Hagan. 3B: G–Torrence. 2B: BL-Grace; G-Vaeth.