Most young baseball players can only dream about the kind of championship game Chris Davidson had yesterday.
Davidson pitched a shutout and went 5-for-5 with two homers, including a grand slam, as Chapelgate Academy humbled St. Mary's, 17-0, in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Conference Tournament final at Alpha Ridge Park in Howard County.
With the wind blowing out in a park with fences less than 300 feet (298 dead center), Chapelgate belted seven homers, including two grand slams.
Right-fielder Jeremy Nolan also hit two homers, one a grand slam, and all nine starters had at least one of the 22 hits as the Flames (14-2) won the B Conference in their inaugural season.
Making its second trip to the final in three years, St. Mary's (15-4) defeated the Flames, 6-4 in regular season, but lost twice to Chapelgate in the tournament.
Chapelgate won the since-disbanded Christian Athletic Association the last two seasons, going 8-0 last year.
"I didn't know what we were going to do this year and thought we might be in the middle of the pack," said Flames coach Bunk Nolan, whose team had not hit more than four homers in any game at Alpha Ridge before yesterday. "But my guys really rose to the occasion and pulled together as a baseball club. It's to their credit, not mine."
Davidson can take a lot of the credit. The lanky right-hander only gave up five hits, all singles. He struck out 12 and walked just one on 115 pitches.
St. Mary's got a runner as far as third base only three times, while the Flames turned it into a parade around third when they batted.
Saints starter Joe Sanchez, who had two of the hits off Davidson, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning by striking out the side. But the Flames began their assault with a six-run second inning, featuring three consecutive homers.
Davidson started it with a grand slam. Nolan and Ben Byrd, each of whom had three hits, followed with solo homers. St. Mary's center fielder Kevin Corradini ran face-first into the chain link fence on Nolan's shot and left under his own power with a nasty cut over his eye that required stitches.
Shortstop Rick Blasi traded places with Sanchez later and got the last out of the second inning. Throwing a sidearm knuckleball, Blasi gave up a two-run homer to Davidson in the third, pitched a scoreless fourth and escaped with the bases loaded in the fifth after giving up run number nine.
If there was any doubt, the Flames put an exclamation mark on the victory by scoring eight more runs in the sixth.
Pub Date: 5/22/98