Mistakes prove costly as Severna Park baseball loses to Sherwood, 9-2, in Class 4A state semifinal

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ROCKVILLE — You had better play a darn good brand of baseball to beat Sherwood baseball in the postseason.

Severna Park was far from its best Tuesday afternoon at Shirley Povich Field, and the result was certainly indicative of that fact.


Leadoff batter Brian Scott set the table and cleanup hitter Ben Berger did the rest as second-seeded Sherwood took full advantage of several mistakes to beat No. 3 Severna Park, 9-2, in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Scott went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs, while Berger went 2-for-2 with three RBIs for the Warriors, who scored five runs in the third and fourth innings to break the game open.


Sherwood (22-3) advances to the Class 4A state championship game for the third straight season and will face top-seeded Urbana, a 10-0 winner over Laurel in the other semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.

“You can’t make mistakes against a team like that. We made mistakes on the bases and we made mistakes on the field and a team like that is going to capitalize,” Severna Park coach Eric Milton said. “These guys have been fighting all season. They fought again today. It wasn’t enough. They faced a good team that made the plays and beat us.”

It marked the third straight season Severna Park’s season came to an end at the hands of Sherwood. The Warriors beat the Falcons in the previous two state finals, 11-0 in 2022 and 5-4 in 2021.

“Eric and I talked before the game and said we’re tired of running into one another,” Sherwood coach Sean Davis said. “Going in, there was a lot of angst because that’s a good team that is talented and well-coached and there was the due factor. We’ve been very successful against them and you wonder as a coach if maybe it’s their turn.”

Severna Park ace Sean Williams battled throughout but had trouble with the top of the Sherwood lineup. No. 2 hitter Ryan Bouma singled, drew three walks and scored three runs, while Amari Allen delivered an RBI double and also scored a run out of the No. 3 slot.

Williams, who entered with a 7-0 record and 1.50 ERA, threw 81 pitches through four innings and was forced to leave after the sixth after reaching 100. Williams allowed nine hits, three walks and eight earned runs while notching three strikeouts.

“They drew a lot of walks and ran up the pitch count. That’s a sign of a good team,” Milton said. “They put together good at-bats and forced the starter to throw a lot of pitches.”

Milton was forced to ride Williams for as long as he could because the staff was so thin. Senior right-hander Seamus Patenaude has not pitched in a month and has been limited to designated hitter duties because of an arm issue, while junior lefty Nathan Murphy is also sidelined with an injury. Senior Nathan Clarke pitched in Friday night’s region championship game and was unavailable.


“We’re really hamstrung with our pitching. We were down to our No. 1 and our five, six and seven,” Milton said.

Clarke and shortstop Angel Santiago-Cruz both went 2-for-4 for Severna Park (20-4), a three-time state champ with the last win coming in 2009. Since, the Falcons have lost in the state finals five times and in the state semifinals twice.

“We can’t get over the hump. I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. These guys work hard every year and put themselves in position, but it hasn’t worked out,” said Milton, now in his 11th season at the helm. “We’ve got a lot of good talent coming back. We’ll reload and get after it again next season.”

Severna Park took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Patenaude doubled in Santiago-Cruz, who had reached via fielder’s choice. Sherwood responded in its half of the frame as Bouma walked and scored on a double by Allen to the fence in right field. Burger singled in Allen to make it 2-1.

The Warriors scored two more in the third inning with Berger plating both runs with a double to the right-center field gap. The Falcons got one back in the top of the fourth as senior right fielder Matt Fleisher hammered a solo homer to right-center.

However, Sherwood took control with three runs in the bottom of the fourth when Severna Park started to get sloppy. Jacob Bagania hit an RBI single and fellow outfielder Matthew Smith followed with a hard grounder to shortstop. It was ruled a base hit, but could easily have been an error and another run came home.


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Smith stole second base, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Bouma.

The Falcons finished with a total of four wild pitches and seven walks. They had one runner doubled up following a routine flyout because he was running on contact thinking there were two outs.

By far the most costly mistake came in the third inning when Severna Park had the bases loaded with two outs and the lead runner got caught straying too far off third base. Catcher Gavin Hughes alertly picked him off to end the potential uprising.

Making matters worse was the hitter at the plate was Fleisher, who led off the following inning with the homer.

“If you only score two runs against a team like that, you’re not going to win nine times out of 10,” Milton said. “We had some balls hit right at them, they made some good plays defensively. Things went their way and we made too many mental mistakes.”

The left-handed Berger started and went three innings, allowing three hits and two runs (one earned). Scott, who signed with Maryland, came in from center field and pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and notching three strikeouts, to earn the win.


“I was really happy with how our guys came out, especially offensively,” Davis said. “Our plan was to go after fastballs and lay off the breaking stuff, which is what we did. I thought our offensive approach was really, really good and Ben and Ryan did a good job on the mound.”