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Marriotts Ridge loses championship on squeeze play

The Baltimore Sun

The Marriotts Ridge baseball team learned a little about second chances this week. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they also learned that you have to take advantage of them, and coming close isn't enough.

No. 12 Marriotts Ridge, which wound up in yesterday's Class 2A state final at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen after last week's loss to South Hagerstown was overturned because the Washington County school violated the rule on pitching limitations, took a late lead before falling to Kent Island, 6-5, on a suicide-squeeze play by Lingan Sweeney in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"We gave it our all," said Mustangs outfielder Kevin Seker, who went 2-for-4. "We couldn't have played any better than we did."

The baseball title was the first for Queen Anne's County's Kent Island (16-8), which began varsity play in 1999.

Trailing 4-2 entering the sixth, the Mustangs (18-6) rallied. After Mitchell Smith walked, Seker doubled to score him and cut the lead to 4-3.

Kyle Feldman singled before a walk to Stephen Kahl chased starting pitcher Sweeney and loaded the bases. Dan Myers greeted reliever Joey Zonetti with a single to score Seker and George Harrison -- who was running for Feldman -- to give the Mustangs a 5-4 lead.

Marriotts Ridge pitcher Stephen Blucher began the bottom of the seventh by walking leadoff hitter Devin Gardner and followed that up by hitting Joey Kirby. After striking out Corey Kirby, Blucher threw two wild pitches, which allowed the tying run to score.

Mustangs coach Paul Eckert called for the next two batters to be intentionally walked to load the bases, before Sweeney laid down a perfect bunt to score Joey Kirby for the winning run.

For the Mustangs, it was a weird ending to a weird week.

"We thought high school was over for us [Wednesday], and then they called us and told us we were playing," said Seker, a senior. "I think I'm still numb about everything. Still, I couldn't ask for a better game. We played our hearts out and they beat us. I congratulate them for that."

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