The Key School baseball team is down to its final out — well, sort of anyway.
With just a week left in the regular season, the Obezags suffered just their second loss of the season Monday afternoon, a six-inning 11-1 loss at the hands of Concordia Prep in Towson in a meeting between the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference’s top two teams.
Both of Key’s defeats this season have come against the Saints (13-1 overall, 13-0 MIAA C), as it won an April 17 meeting, 3-2. That loss leaves the Obezags (11-2, 9-2) with one more possible chance of avenging those losses, and that would likely be in the upcoming conference championship game — should both teams make it.
“Obviously, it was not the result we were looking for,” Key coach Gary Gallant said. “Concordia’s a very strong team and we expect that in the next week or so we’ll hopefully be seeing them again real soon and come back and show them what we can do.
“They’re a solid team. I think we have a real good starting nine; we just need to hit better than we did. Our pitching, I think, has been very strong.”
Speaking of hitting, Saints first baseman Luke Nelson did a whole lot of that, going 3-for-3 with two home runs, a double, a walk, and six runs batted in. Nelson’s second homer of the contest, a grand slam, ended the contest prematurely in the sixth inning.
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Nelson blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the first inning to give the Saints, who won the most recent MIAA C Conference title in 2019, a lead they would never relinquish.
On the mound, Andrew Couser was equally as tough on the Key batters as Nelson was on the team’s pitchers, allowing just one run with eight strikeouts, including inducing a ground ball out with the bases loaded and two out in the top of the fifth inning.
“Andrew, he knows how to pitch,” Saints coach Michael Murtha said. “He’s not going to be overpowering in anything, but he mixes pitches [and] he’s up for the challenge. Our [game-winning] home run was by our No. 1 pitcher. We didn’t want them seeing our No. 1 a couple of times before potentially seeing them again in the championship. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again in a couple of weeks.”
Key’s lone run came in the top of the second inning on a run-scoring single to center field by Jack Gallant. Luke Nespole started the inning with a single down the left field line that caromed off the laid out third baseman’s glove and into foul territory. Nespole eventually stole second and then was plated on Gallant’s line drive.
Concordia pushed its advantage to 4-1 with a run-scoring groundout in the third and a solo home run to left center field by Sam Weiland in the fourth against Key starter Sean Boomer, who recorded a trio of strikeouts before handing the ball to reliever Chris Williams to start the sixth.
“He isn’t their No. 1, but he’s still a good pitcher,” said Key center fielder Armand Ortiz of Couser, who Ortiz worked for a double, triple, and walk. “He was giving us stuff to hit, but we weren’t swinging the bat enough. Our pitching was fine for the most part and played good defense for the most part, the reason we didn’t win this game is because we didn’t swing the bat enough. That’s probably what’s going to happen when we face these guys again.”