The gutsy pitching was there all game for the Archbishop Curley baseball team Thursday against visiting Calvert Hall. And when a little offense was needed late, the No. 10 Friars proved clutch at the plate, too.
Standout senior Ryan Edmonds, who relieved starting pitcher James Gladden in the fifth inning, handled double duty. He came up with a clutch run-scoring double in the Friars’ deciding two-run sixth and got key outs on the mound to lead Curley to a 3-2 win over the No. 2 Cardinals in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.
With one game remaining in the regular season for both teams, Curley (16-12, 8-5 MIAA) moves one game behind Calvert Hall (19-7, 9-4) for second place and an opening-round bye in the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Calvert Hall hosts John Carroll, while Curley travels to St. Mary’s for 4 p.m. games. A Calvert Hall win or Curley loss would give the Cardinals second place with No. 1 Archbishop Spalding already assured the top seed. With Curley winning both games against Calvert Hall, the Friars would claim the second seed if both teams finish with 9-4 league marks.
“It’s big,” Edmonds said. “Calvert Hall is our rival school — everybody knows that — and last time we played them we beat them 3-2 and this time we played them, beat them 3-2. As far as playoffs, they’re making a push for the second seed and so are we, so winning this game was really huge.”
Putting themselves into position to still get a crack at the second seed started with a strong five-inning, 10-strikeout performance from Gladden, who left the mound with a 1-0 lead on John Petryszak’s home run in the fourth.
After the Cardinals finally pushed across an unearned run in the sixth to tie the game at 1, Edmonds limited the damage by striking out Jake Butler and Connor Keys with runners on second and third. More importantly, he left Cardinals catcher Lamar King (4-for-4 with two doubles and one run) in the on-deck circle.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, the Friars responded. Harry Middlebrooks and Zach Gaeta both singled and Edmonds pulled a run-scoring double over third base. That ended a quality start for Cardinals starting pitcher Steven Mufareh, who gave up five hits and finished with eight strikeouts. Dom Bahr entered in relief, and after an intentional walk to Petryszak (2-for-2, walk) to lead the bases, Kevin Goedecke worked a walk to make it 3-1.
The insurance run was needed. King opened the seventh with a double and scored when EJ Hankerson grounded out to shortstop Riley McBride to cut the lead to 3-2. Edmonds got John Harris to ground out to McBride, who went deep in the hole at short and made a strong throw to close out the win.
“We hung in there, got good pitching from James and Ryan, two key hits in the [sixth] inning after we made the first out and made it count,” Curley coach Joe Gaeta said. “That was tough. I mean, [Calvert Hall] is tough and I think we just did what we needed to do.”
After pounding out 14 hits, including five home runs, in a 13-2 win at Mount Saint Joseph on Tuesday, the Cardinals stranded 11 base runners Thursday as Gladden and Edmonds were able to get tough outs. Gladden, who recorded his first nine outs on strikeouts, got out of a jam in the first inning by striking out Chase Davalli and Hankerson with one out and runners on second and third.
After Gladden left with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth, Edmonds got Hankerson to ground into a double play to preserve a 1-0 lead.
“We just left too many guys on base — no timely hits — and they did the job,” said 21-year coach Lou Eckerl, who will manage his final regular season game Tuesday. “They got their runs when they needed. [It was a] great outing from Mufareh — I think he pitched well enough to win. Again, we just didn’t get the hits when we needed them and hats off to their two pitchers because they kept us from getting them.”
CH 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 — 2 9 0
AC 0 0 0 1 0 2 x — 3 5 2
Mufareh, Bahr (6) and King; Gladden, Edmonds (5) and Gaeta
2B: CH -- King 2; AC -- Edmonds. HR: AC -- Petryszak