McDonogh baseball was swept by Gerstell in the regular season. However, the Eagles flipped the script when it mattered most, beating the Falcons twice in two days to win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship.
Devin Pal pitched the Eagles to the championship, outdueling Gerstell’s Travis Smith in a 2-0 McDonogh victory Monday. Pal threw a five-hit shutout, striking out only one batter but not walking any. Monday’s win follows a 5-1 McDonogh win Sunday that forced a winner-take-all game in the double-elimination tournament.
Gerstell previously beat McDonogh by 7-5 on April 3 and 10-0 on May 8.
Smith allowed just four hits and struck out eight, but four walks proved costly and McDonogh (18-11) got its hits at the biggest moments.
In the bottom of the first, Dylan Liedy drew a two-out walk and was driven in on Billy Moore’s double. It was the game’s only extra-base hit. The score remained 1-0 into the bottom of the fifth. Three walks loaded the bases and Liedy singled in McDonogh’s second run.
Gerstell (19-4) had its best chance to score in the seventh. Jack Bruffey singled with two outs and Hayden Pittler reached on an error. But Pal got Aaron Hammond to ground out to end the game and give McDonogh the championship.
Gerstell was on a 13-game winning streak and won 18 of 19 games before Sunday’s loss. The Falcons won the B Conference Red Division regular-season title with a 15-1 conference record. McDonogh was second in the division, going 12-4 in the conference. The Eagles lost their second-round tournament game to Black Division champion St. Paul, 6-4, on May 15. They won three games in four days, including avenging the loss to St. Paul with an 8-5 victory Friday, to set up the series with Gerstell.