McDonogh baseball defeats Gerstell, 5-1, to set up winner-take-all game for MIAA B Conference title

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For the second straight game, the staff at Joe Cannon Stadium had to put away Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship hats and T-shirts.

After Concordia Prep defeated Key in 12 innings to force a winner-take-all game in the C Conference bracket, McDonogh baseball quickly followed suit. The Eagles defeated Gerstell, 5-1, Sunday afternoon, ending the Falcons’ 18-game conference winning streak and forcing their own winner-take-all showdown Monday for the MIAA B Conference crown.


“I’m just proud of the guys and the way they came out fearless today,” Eagles coach Matt Tuneski said. “They’ve worked hard all year to get to this point.”

Billy Moore’s RBI double in the first inning got the scoring started, but Gerstell’s Hayden Pittler countered with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 1.


The game remained tied until the fifth. As both teams looked to avoid the 12-inning marathon played before them, Ryan Scarff’s three-run triple proved to be the game-winning hit as the Eagles took control of the contest.

McDonogh's Leo Antwerpen pitches against Gerstell in an MIAA B Conference playoff game at Joe Cannon Stadium in Hanover on Sunday.

The first baseman’s knock came after Gerstell chose to intentionally walk Peter Kokins to load the bases.

“I kind of took that personally,” Scraff said. “Then he [pitcher John Delgado] hung a curveball, and I was able to do damage with it.”

For Tuneski, Scarff, who had been in a slump, was the ideal person to come up with the game’s most crucial hit.

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“That’s what it’s all about as a coach,” he said. “Watching a player that was struggling continue to work hard, bounce back and get the job done.”

McDonogh lost its two regular-season meetings with Gerstell and was outscored 17-5. Freshman Leo Antwerpen started both of those contests and struggled, but he pitched one of his best games Sunday to extend the Eagles’ season.

“Today was personal,” he said. “I was trying to focus on my command today and the fastball was working.”


Antwerpen went six innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out seven. He also came through at the plate with two hits.

The Falcons left the game disappointed but confident. Craig Meseke went 2-for-3 and they played strong defense throughout. Coach Cap Poklemba kept the postgame message light-hearted and short with the winner-take-all game less than 24 hours away.

“I told them, ‘Hey, they had the one great hit and we didn’t,’” he said. “Both teams have to get ready for tomorrow because tomorrow is what really counts.”