The brotherly battery of Cadeyrn and Qwynn Ahearn was fully charged Saturday afternoon at Blandair Park.
Centennial’s pitcher-catcher duo was solid on the mound, behind the dish and at the plate, leading the Eagles to a 3-1 win over Marriotts Ridge in the 3A East Region I championship.
Cadeyrn Ahearn earned the win on the bump, allowing only one run in 5 2/3 innings, while his brother threw out two runners stealing and smacked two RBI singles to propel Centennial to its first region title since 2008.
“They’re built-in best friends,” said Eagles head coach Denis Ahearn about his sons. “They battle like brothers, but when it comes down to it, the confidence they have in each other is what gives that battery a little bit of a different feel than others.”
Qwynn Ahearn, a sophomore, said having success alongside his brother in a playoff atmosphere was “awesome,” but he made clear that the postseason run is first and foremost about the Eagles’ talented senior class.
“This isn’t for us. This is for our seniors,” said Qwynn Ahearn. “They lost their junior year where they had this chance, and now I feel like they deserve this.”
Centennial (12-1) will be re-seeded by regular season record along with the seven other region champions. The Eagles are the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Damascus in the state quarterfinals.
While Denis Ahearn said he’s eager for Monday’s game, he also admitted he’s going to “savor” Saturday’s victory.
“This means everything to me, but the longer I’ve coached — and this is my 19th year — I’ve realized it’s not about me and that it’s about the kids,” Denis Ahearn said. “The first couple of years I had it really easy. I won a lot of things in a row. I thought it would always be like this, but things didn’t go so well for a few years. So to have a team like this is really special.”
Cadeyrn Ahearn didn’t have his best stuff on the hot afternoon at Blandair Park’s artificial turf field in Columbia.
The freshman righty opened the game with a walk, but he was assisted by his brother, who caught the runner trying to steal. Cadeyrn Ahearn then hit the second batter he faced, but he composed himself on a comebacker for the 1-6-3 double play.
“It’s nice to have him back there,” Cadeyrn Ahearn said about Qwynn, who threw out another runner in the fifth. “I know I’ve got a wall to throw against. He makes everything easier for me.”
Centennial scored two runs before Marriotts Ridge (6-7) had its first hit, scoring one run in both the first and third innings. Senior third baseman Jack Pistner, the Eagles’ leadoff hitter, started both frames with a walk. He was then moved into scoring position during Chris Betler’s at-bats, and Qwynn Ahearn drove him home both times.
“He has a college-level plate approach,” said Denis Ahearn of Pistner, who singled in his third and final plate appearance to reach base all three times. “His swing is so clean and so good. He’s a great kid to have atop the lineup.”
Both of Qwynn Ahearn’s singles were sharply hit balls up the middle, and his coach said that’s a credit to the “revamped swing” he developed during the pandemic.
“To see everything click has been amazing,” Denis Ahearn said. “To see him be able to succeed like this, as a coach it’s great, but as a dad, it’s even better.”
Marriotts Ridge didn’t go down easily, though.
On the mound, junior Jordan Peguese was solid throughout. The hard-throwing righty allowed five hits and three runs in six innings, while striking out five and walking four.
“He’s an electric pitcher,” said Mustangs coach Paul Eckert. “When he’s on, not too many kids are going to hit him at the high school level.”
After going hitless through three, Marriotts Ridge scored its lone run in the fourth. Blake Krupinsky doubled off the left field fence and scored on a Chase Kamerman (2 for 3) single. The Mustangs stranded two runners on base in that frame, as well as in the sixth and seventh innings.
“I think our kids hit against him pretty well,” Eckert said of how his hitters fared against Cadeyrn Ahearn, who has been one of the best pitchers in Howard County this season. “He’s a good pitcher, but I think our kids battled him every inch of the way.”
“[Cadeyrn] clearly didn’t have his best stuff today,” Denis Ahearn said. “He had to bear down and figure out how to get outs even if he wasn’t overpowering guys like he typically does. That’s the sign of a maturing pitcher who is taking his game to the next level.”
The Eagles got an insurance run in the fifth on an RBI groundout from Betler that scored Charles Schmitt, who led off the inning with a triple to right field.
With two runners on in the sixth, Cadeyrn Ahearn was replaced with fellow freshman Zachary Harris, who is the Eagles’ go-to reliever when runners are on base. Harris, who earned the save in the Eagles’ county championship-clinching victory over Howard earlier this month, got out of the jam with a fly out to right field.
“It’s great to know I have someone else coming to close the job,” Cadeyrn Ahearn said. “I want to throw a complete game, but it’s easy to hand it off to him.”
The righty allowed two one-out singles in the seventh but retired the final two batters to earn the save.
“It’s the mindset and the focus and the fearlessness to attack the zone that impresses me most about [Harris],” Denis Ahearn said.
The win Saturday was the 10th straight for Centennial. The time of the Eagles’ game against Damascus Monday is to be determined.
No. 1 Centennial 3, No. 2 Marriotts Ridge 1 (3A East Region I)
....... 123 456 7 — R H E
MR — 000 100 0 — 1 6 0
C — 101 010 x — 3 5 0
W: C — Cadeyrn Ahearn; L: MR — Jordan Peguese; SV: C — Zachary Harris.
2B: MR — Blake Krupinsky.
3B: C — Charles Schmitt.
SB: MR — Logan Anderson, Chase Kamerman.
OTHER BASEBALL SCORES:
No. 2 Atholton 4, No. 4 Reservoir 0 (3A East Region II)
Liam Snow thew six shutout innings to lead the Raiders to the region title win over the Gators (7-7). Kurtis MacKenzie followed Snow and pitched a scoreless seventh to secure the victory.
Atholton scored one in the bottom of the first and tacked on three more insurance runs in the sixth. Scotty Vaszil led the Raiders with two RBIs, while Devin Hollingsworth and Tony D’Angeli both chipped in with one RBI apiece.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” said Atholton coach Scott Peddicord. “The team chemistry is great. Liam had a heck of a start, and we did everything we needed to do to win. Reservoir is a great team, they really are. We came out, and we showed people we’re pretty good too. This was a great team victory.”
The loss ends Reservoir’s playoff run, which included a region quarterfinal win over Hammond and an upset of No. 1 River Hill in the semis.
Atholton (10-3) will be re-seeded by regular season record along with the seven other region champions.
Re — 000 000 0 — 0
A — 100 003 x — 4
3B: A — S. Vaszil. Re — N/A.
SB: A — D. Carrion. Re — N/A.
No. 1 Century 3, No. 3 Glenelg 2 — 14 inn. (2A West Region I)
No. 4 Howard 5, No. 2 Arundel 2 (4A East Region I)
No. 1 South Carroll 6, No. 2 Glenelg 5 (2A West Region I)
The loss ends the Gladiators’ season. Glenelg went 9-4 overall, earned a first-round bye in the playoffs and won its semifinal game against Century 14-1. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, will be re-seeded by regular season record along with the seven other region champions
No. 1 Reservoir 6, No. 2 River Hill 0 (3A East Region II)
The Gators remained undefeated with a shutout to win the region championship. Kylee Gunkel twirled a shutout in the circle, while Clare Andrews and Courtney Johnson both smacked home runs at the plate.
Gunkel allowed only two hits while striking out 13 in seven innings. Andrews went 2 for 3 at the plate with a homer and two RBIs. Johnson added a two-run blast, and Alyssa Kelly had an RBI triple. Rhiannon Little chipped in with two singles.
River Hill’s Ella Wood tossed three shutout innings before allowing five runs in the fourth and fifth. She ended with seven hits allowed and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Lux Sheplee relieved her, allowing two hits and one run in 1 1/3 innings. At the plate for the Hawks (8-5), Sara Emig went 2 for 3 for River Hill’s lone base knocks.
Reservoir (13-0) will be re-seeded by regular season record along with the seven other region champions. The Gators can’t be seeded lower than No. 3.
RH — 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Re — 000 231 x — 6 9 0
W: Re — K. Gunkel; L: RH — E. Wood.
3B: Re — A. Kelly.
HR: Re — C. Andrews, C. Johnson.
No. 1 North County 10, No. 2 Howard 0 (4A East Region I)
No. 2 Marriotts Ridge 13, No. 1 Westminster 10 (3A East Region I)
TRACK & FIELD
Eleven of the 12 Howard County outdoor track and field teams competed at regionals on Saturday, with two local squads winning titles. The Oakland Mills boys team, which officially won the county championship on June 5, is the 3A East Region champion, while Mt. Hebron finished in first on the girls side of the same regional meet.
Glenelg competed in the 2A West Region meet on Saturday, while Howard will run in the 4A East Region competition on Monday.
The top girls athlete on Saturday was Mt. Hebron’s Sameena Mathew, who was the lone girl to win three regional gold medals. The freshman won the 200- and 400-meter dashes and ran a leg of the Vikings’ first-place finishing 4x400-meter relay. Two other girls won multiple events. Hammond’s Morgan Lane won both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while Centennial thrower Liv Ragonese finished first in the shot put and the discus.
The lone girls athlete to qualify in four events for the state championship meet on Saturday was River Hill’s Janasia Buckner. Due to the COVID-altered postseason, only the top two finishers in each event at regionals move on to the state competition. Buckner won the 100, finished second in the 200 and was a member of the Hawks’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays, which finished second and first, respectively. Along with Mathew, River Hill’s Araoluwa Omitowoju was the only other girls athlete to qualify in three events — finishing in the top two in the 100, 4x100 and 4x200.
On the boys side, nine athletes qualified for states in at least three events — Glenelg’s Ian Higgins, Matthew Finnan, Bisi Owens and Timothy Cherry; Oakland Mills’ Judson Lincoln IV, Baidy Ba, Isiah Rucker and Kanye Holland; and Reservoir’s Julian Vissering.
Lincoln was the top boys performer on the day, winning four gold medals — just like he did at the county championships two weeks ago. He swept the 100, 200 and 400 and ran a leg of the Scorpions’ 4x400 relay. Rucker, Ba and Holland all won three events as well. Rucker won gold in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and on the 4x400 relay, while Ba finished first in the 800, 3,200 and that same relay. Holland, meanwhile, won gold in the long jump, triple jump and as a member of the Scorpions 4x200 relay. In the 2A meet, Glenelg’s Ian Higgins was excellent, winning the 100, 200 and long jump.
In total, 90 Howard County athletes at the 11 schools qualified for states.
2A WEST REGIONAL
Girls: 1. Century 111; 2. Oakdale 108.5; 3. Middletown 80.5; 4. Glenelg 56; 5. South Carroll 55.
Boys: 1. Liberty 117; 2. Oakdale 112; 3. Glenelg 104; 4. Century 85; 5. Middletown 55.
Girls individual results (top two advance to states):
800-meter run: 2. Kailey Kasbeer-Betty, Glenelg, 2:28.
4x100 relay: 2. Glenelg (Sarah Cherry, Jasmine Shearer, Alysia Zulu, Megan Sites), :54.04.
4x400: 2. Glenelg (Sierra Rohmann, Kara Rivenbark, Dayna Rohmann, Susan Shollenberger), 4:17.
4x800: 2. Glenelg (Rohmann, Brooke Birckhead, Rivenbark, Kasbeer-Betty), 10:07.
Boys individual results (top two advance to states):
100: 1. Ian Higgins, Glenelg, :11.11.
200: 1. Higgins, :22.77.
400: 2. Everett Stimler, Glenelg, :51.55.
800: 2. Matthew Finnan, Glenelg, 2:01.
1,600: 2. Timothy Cherry, Glenelg, 4:33.
4x400: 2. Glenelg (Stimler, Bisi Owens, Cherry, Finnan), 3:32.
4x800: 1. Glenelg (Finnan, Dylan Jock, Tyler Rivenbark, Cherry), 8:27.
Long jump: 1. Higgins, 21 feet-9 inches; 2. Owens, 20-1.25.
Triple jump: 1. Owens, 44-4.5.
3A EAST REGION
Girls: 1. Mt. Hebron 100; 2. Reservoir 98; 3. River Hill 82; 4. Oakland Mills 75.5; 5. Manchester Valley 70.5; 6. Centennial 65; 7. Westminster 57; 8. Atholton 54; T-9. Long Reach 26; T-9. Marriotts Ridge 26; 11. Hammond 24; 12. Wilde Lake 13.
Boys: 1. Oakland Mills 167; 2. Mt. Hebron 82; 3. Atholton 82; 4. Reservoir 75; 5. Manchester Valley 65; 6. Centennial 64; 7. Westminster 36; 8. River Hill 34; 9. Wilde Lake 27; 10. Long Reach 25; 11. Hammond 24; 12. Marriotts Ridge 15.
Girls individual results (top two advance to states):
100: 1. Janasia Buckner, River Hill, :12.49; 2. Araoluwa Omitowoju, River Hill, :12.50.
200: 1. Sameena Mathew, Mt. Hebron, :25.12; 2. Buckner, :25.4.
400: 1. Mathew, :57.19; 2. Farah Nasir, Atholton, :58.21.
100 hurdles: 1. Morgan Lane, Hammond, :15.58; 2. Arayana Ladson, Mt. Hebron, :15.83.
300 hurdles: 1. Lane, :46.02; 2. Kat Parris, Reservoir, :47.72.
800: 1. Faith Meininger, River Hill, 2:22; 2. Amaya Cunningham, Centennial, 2:26.
1,600: 2. Meininger, 5:12.
3,200: 2. Ella Harris, Oakland Mills, 11:19.
4x100: 1. Reservoir (Sophie Davidson, Mecca Jackson, Breyonna Young, Jamie Adams), :49.22; 2. River Hill, (Larasia Buckner, J. Buckner, Teniola Adejana, Omitowoju), :49.53.
4x200: 1. River Hill (J. Buckner, L. Buckner, Khadijah Mumuney, Omitowoju), 1:44; 2. Reservoir (Adams, Davidson, Margot Laughner, Adeola Opadina), 1:46.
4x400: 1. Mt. Hebron (Mathew, Garcelle Pierre, Ava Pierre, Alexandra Carrico), 4:10; 2. Oakland Mills (Oba Aofolaju, Aliya Murray, Arianna Marshall, Alana Oppermann), 4:12.
4x800: 2. Centennial (Michelle Weaver, Elizabeth Webbert, Natalie Robinson, Katerina Talanova), 10:26.
Long jump: 1. Ladson, 16-7; 2. Jackson, 16-2.5
High jump: N/A.
Triple jump: 1. Kiersten Jewell, Reservoir, 32-8.5; 2. Aniyah Toppin, Long Reach, 32-5.
Shot put: 1. Liv Ragonese, Centennial, 35-8.
Discus: 1. Ragonese, 100-3; 2. Katherine Wood, Atholton, 82-00.
Pole vault: 2. Rosalie Rosenberg, Oakland Mills, 9-00.
Boys individual results (top two advance to states):
100: 1. Judson Lincoln IV, Oakland Mills, :11.03; 2. Jalen Booth-Mitchell, Reservoir, :11.15.
200: 1. Lincoln, :22.14; 2. Julian Vissering, Reservoir, :22.46.
400: 1. Lincoln, :48.53; 2. Vissering, :49.76.
110 hurdles: 1. Isiah Rucker, Oakland Mills, :14.77;
300 hurdles: 1. Rucker, :39.03.
800: 1. Baidy Ba, Oakland Mills, 1:53.
1,600: 2. Fernando Duraes, Centennial, 4:12.
3,200: 1. Ba, 9:18; 2. Antonio Camacho-Bucks, Centennial, 9:22.
4x100: 1. Reservoir (Myles Harrington, Booth-Mitchell, Dylan Bradford, Vissering), :42.93. 2. Atholton (Joshua Ruley, Jamel Mins, Darian Tarver, Andre’ Richmond), :43.00.
4x200: 1. Oakland Mills (Trevin McHargh, Quincy Julien, Kanye Holland, Shane King), 1:30; 2. Atholton (Harlem Morton, Ruley, Charles Ngansi, Jamel Mins), 1:31.
4x400: 1. Oakland Mills (Rucker, Lincoln, John Tatum IV, Ba), 3:26.
4x800: 1. Centennial (Sebastian Martinez, Kyle Scherock, Alexander White, Jacob Cole), 8:28; 2. River Hill (Kevin Sanchez-Velazquez, Robert King, Kian Mostoufi, Kevin McAllister), 8:37.
Long jump: 1. Holland, 20-1.5; 2. Kylik Perry, Oakland Mills, 20-1.
High jump: 1. Adrian Nwakalor, Atholton, 5-10; 2. Abdur Hassan, Oakland Mills, 5-10.
Triple jump: 1. Holland, 44-10; 2. Erik Valdesuso, Marriotts Ridge, 41-7.25.
Shot put: 1. Liam Lovering, Centennial, 50-0.5; 2. Yoel Ged, Wilde Lake, 43-9.
Discus: 1. Lovering, 156-11; 2. Miguel Moran, Atholton, 121-7.
Pole vault: 1. Alec Zaller, Atholton, 13-7; 2. Christian Bowens, Long Reach, 11-6.