Tate Gerringer made things happen for John Carroll on Monday evening with a three-run triple and a team-high two hits in an 8-5 victory over Loyola in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association baseball.
While the Patriots spotted Loyola Blakefield two runs in the first inning, Gerringer came up to the plate after Griffin Shirk drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning.
“I think the biggest thing is swinging the bat,” Gerringer said. “Right before I went up and hit that triple, I said to my friend, ‘I’m swinging at the first pitch that I get.’ That’s all that I’m trying to do is just hit the ball — put the bat on the ball. So, that’s what makes things happen.”
Swing on the first pitch he did, as Gerringer ripped a triple in the fourth inning, scoring three runs. He gave his Patriots a 4-2 lead.
Ben Pierce won the decision for John Carroll, pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing no hits and two runs while striking out four batters. Pierce says he plays baseball by the KISS rule: keep it simple stupid. It also allows him to just enjoy baseball with the childlike glee that he’s had since beginning to play the game.
“I wanted to go out there, trust my stuff and don’t think too much — my brain usually gets in the way when I think too much,” Pierce chuckled. “I try not too think too much, trust my stuff and get it over the plate. I’m just really happy to play again. I love them, they’re like brothers to me. It’s been a long year. I just really can’t wait to play again and keep going.”
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Will Weinman threw 1 1/3 innings in relief from the bullpen for John Carroll, while Matt Archibald pitched two innings, allowing one hit and two runs and striking out four batters as the starter.
John Carroll coach Darrion Siler echoed the thoughts of his two players as he was pleased to return to the field. Siler played baseball at John Carroll, graduating in 2001, and returned to coach in 2016. The return to baseball after a nearly yearlong layoff due to COVID-19 made him “feel like a kid again.”
“I’ve been waiting for this moment to get back on the baseball field to play high school baseball for a long time,” Siler said. “It was a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation. The guys just wanted to get back out there and compete and they did. They showed heart, they showed grit and I think they did a very great job.”
Loyola’s Michael Jensen lost the decision, pitching valiantly in the first two innings, before walking the bases loaded after the final two outs of the third inning. When Stephen Schenning entered in relief, Jensen’s runners were cleared on the swing of Gerringer’s bat.
Dons coach Mike Kelly’s expectation for his players is to learn. He has a number of players who will go on to play college baseball that haven’t even laced up their cleats to participate in a varsity game. Many other players didn’t even get to touch a junior varsity field and must make the jump.
“We were trying to learn,” Kelly said. “We have a lot of kids — and all of the teams do really — that the coaches don’t know what they can do. The coaches have never seen them play on a varsity level and in this league [MIAA] we’re way faster than any other league. You’re getting the best players. Some of those guys didn’t adjust to the quickness of the game right out of the gate and that was our first time in a game situation.”