After compiling a 14-3 league record — tied for best in the county with Marriotts Ridge — a first-round postseason bye and two playoff victories, Reservoir baseball’s season came to an end Monday afternoon on its home field.
The Gators could not figure out Chesapeake senior right-hander Joe Seidler (6.2 innings, one run, three hits, four strikeouts) and allowed a pair of two-out, two RBI doubles that proved to be the difference in a 4-1 result in the 3A East region final.
Gators coach Adam Leader said that the loss, while disappointing, does not overshadow the team’s regular season and playoff success this spring.
“I told [the players] to hold their heads up high and just really proud of the work they put in, just in the fall and the winter and now. It’s tough. Only one team gets to win this. And it was a difficult trek and it was difficult with the rain on and off and stuff like that, but we had a great season. I’m proud of the guys.”
Gators’ hitters stepped into the batter’s box against the hard-throwing Seidler with the same approach they have utilized all season: attack fastballs and adjust to off-speed pitches.
Seidler’s plan included throwing first-pitch strikes to get ahead in counts. Coach Ken King also told Seidler to place extra focus on retiring the leadoff hitter each inning. King knew that if the Gators started a frame with a baserunner, they would likely try and move that player over with a sacrifce bunt, placing more pressure on the defense.
Neither objective played out as anticipated, as Seidler worked from behind against more batters than he would have liked and allowed the first hitter of the inning to reach base five times in seven frames.
However, those miscues did not cost Chesapeake. Seidler record just four strikeouts but limited solid contact, which resulted in plenty of routine defensive putouts for a sure-handed fielding unit. The Cougars did make on error that led to Reservoir’s only run — an RBI groundout from senior Todd DelTufo in the third inning — but even in that frame, Seidler escaped the bases-loaded jam by inducing a pop out to second base.
In total, the Gators left eight runners on base.
“I tip my cap to [Seidler],” Leader said. “He did a great job. He kept us off balance. He was hitting his spots. He froze us a bunch of times, and we hit the ball, but we didn’t have those hards hit when we needed them.”
Trevor Romaine pitched the first five innings for the Gators, scattering seven hits and two walks, and did a commendable job limiting the Cougars when they put runners in scoring position.
But in two instances, Chesapeake came through with clutch hits that Reservoir could not. In the first inning, junior Tyler Shadle (3-for-4) drove in the game’s first two runs with a two-out triple over the right fielder’s head. And after the Gators cut the advantage in half in their half of the third, the Cougars immediately responded with another two-out base knock. Getting the job done this time was junior and No. 9 Colby Buckheit, who drilled a two-RBI double to deep center field.
The second extra-base hit put the Cougars up, 4-1, which was more more than enough run support to close out the program’s third straight region title.
“They’re a lot like us,” King said of Reservoir. “They attack the ball the way we do, they throw the ball the way we do and today we got the better of them. It could have went the other way easily.”
Chesapeake — 4, Reservoir (17-4) — 1
............123 456 7 R-H-E
CH .... 200 200 0 4-8-2
Re .…. 001 020 0 1-3-1