To get to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference baseball championship game, Calvert Hall needed to feel the power. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they did.
Senior pitcher Brady Power pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball before running out of gas, but it was enough to lift host Calvert Hall (23-6, 18-2) to a 4-3 win over rival Gilman (22-10, 14-7) in the double-elimination A Conference tournament.
The Cardinals entered the seventh inning with a 4-0 lead, and hung on for the win.
With the win, top-ranked Calvert Hall advances to the A Conference championship game Monday at Harford Community College. Ninth-ranked Gilman will play Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Mount Saint Joseph-Loyola Blakefield game, and the winner of Friday’s game will face the Cardinals.
“Brady pitched a great game for us,” Calvert Hall manager Lou Eckerl said. “I was hoping he would finish, but we knew we had someone else who could get the job done.”
That someone was senior shortstop Jose Torres.
“He doesn’t normally pitch for us, but he volunteered to help us out two weeks ago. He threw the ball hard,” Eckerl said of Torres, who ended the game with a strikeout to strand a runner on second base.
Calvert Hall took the lead in the second inning. Junior Nick Tamberino doubled to right field with one out and scored two batters later when Alex Khan tripled to right. After he got to third base, Kahn saw home plate unmanned, and he scored untouched for a 2-0 lead.
“Our coaching staff noticed that their catcher had gone to the mound without calling timeout,” said Kahn. “They told me to go, so I took off and scored.”
The Cardinals doubled their lead in the fifth inning. Sami Kahn, Alex’s brother, tripled to open the fifth inning. He scored when Garrett McIlhenney singled in the next at-bat. After another single by Parker Landwehr, McIlhenney scored on a flyout by Antonio Barranca two batters later to push the lead to 4-0.
Power faced four batters in the sixth, pitching around a throwing error by Barranca, and retired the first Greyhounds batter in the seven.
Gilman, however, was far from done. After a walk to Tripp Myers, senior Tyler Martinez hit a home run that just cleared the right field wall to cut the lead in half at 4-2. After Power hit Gilman’s Gabe Gonzales with a pitch, he struck out Ryan Martinez for the second out. Power gave up consecutive singles to Trevor Weiner and Ryan Williamson, the second of which scored Kofi Whitehead, who was running for Gonzales, to cut the lead to 4-3.
Eckerl then went to Torres, who struck out Casey Bishop to end the game.
“We didn’t compete for six innings, and it’s too late in the year for that to happen,” Gilman coach Larry Sheets. “We battled until the end, but we came up a run shy.”
Now Calvert Hall is on the precipice of doing something it hasn’t done since 2013; winning the A Conference title.
“Coach [Eckerl] talks about that with us all the time,” Alex Khan said. “That drives us to get better, and now we have a chance to make it happen.”
MIAA A Conference semifinal
Calvert Hall 4, Gilman 3
G 000 000 3 – 3-5-1
CH 020 020 x – 4-6-1
Rosenfield and Mallas; Power, Torres (6), and Landwehr. HR: G – T. Martinez. 3B: CH – A. Kahn, S. Kahn. 2B: G – Bennett; CH – Tamberino.