FREDERICK -- There are a number of reasons the fourth-seeded Hammond baseball team dropped a heart-breaking 6-5 decision to top-seeded Rockville last night in the Class 2A state semifinals at McCurdy Field.
Not the least of which was the Bears themselves.
Rockville took advantage of six Hammond errors, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on an errant throw to third by catcher Robbie Laing, allowing Jeremy Kinsey, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning, to score.
For the Bears (15-7), who entered the game averaging less than two errors, the night was one frustration after another.
"Any time you make six errors, that's six extra runners you've put on base," said Hammond coach Bob Maxey, whose team was also the beneficiary of five errors by the Rams. "It was just an ugly game."
Rockville (14-5), from Montgomery County, advanced to Saturday's Class 2A state final at McCurdy against Glenelg, which defeated Wicomico, 14-0, in the other semifinal.
Hammond scored two in the first and one in the fifth that were unearned, and scored its two other runs on Matt Cyran's liner that bounced wildly over the head of center fielder Mike Mathwin in the third.
The Rams matched their effort with two each in the second and third and single runs in the sixth and seventh.
"It was frustrating," said Maxey. "Every time we scored some runs they came right back."
Cyran led Hammond's effort, reaching base four times on a triple, two errors and an intentional walk. The bad-hop triple was the Bears' only extra-base hit.
"I was always waiting for my big sticks to really bang one, and that never happened," said Maxey. "The strike zone was smaller than usual. You also have to give Rockville a lot of credit. They made the plays they had to. We had a couple chances to break it open but didn't."
The Bears left runners at second and third in the fifth, and second in the seventh. Rockville starter Matt Simmons looked shaky early, but settled down after the third to strike out five of the next six hitters.
Leading 5-4 in the sixth, Hammond allowed the tying run to score on a suicide squeeze by Paul McElroy, scoring Charlie Baker.
Hammond starter Jeff Price pitched well, using off-speed pitches to keep Rockville's hitters off balance all night. He allowed five singles and struck out four in his five innings of work.
Maxey said it was unfair for a team to play all season during the day then have to adjust to playing under the lights.
"The lights aren't very good here, and I don't think either team is that bad, defensively," said Maxey. "You play 21 games in the day, make it this far and have to play at night. I just sit here and shake my head."