The high school baseball season came to a close Monday night at Ripken Stadium.
And it ended with a come-from-behind victory in the last inning of the final game.
With two-time, BaltimoreBaseball.com Prep Ballplayer of the Week nominee Joe Seidler on the mound and a two-run lead in the seventh, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel appeared to be headed for its second state championship in three years. But Calvert County’s Huntingtown rallied for four runs in the frame and held on for a 4-3 win in Class 3A.
Earlier in the day, Frederick County’s Brunswick blanked Patterson Mill, 4-0, for its second straight Class 1A championship. La Plata, of Charles County, beat Washington County’s Williamsport, 4-1, to win the Class 2A title.
The only Baltimore-area team to win an MPSSAA title this year was Bel Air, which cruised to an 8-1 victory over Quince Orchard of Montgomery County in the Class 4A championship on Friday night at the University of Maryland’s Shipley Field.
On Wednesday, Archbishop Spalding won its third straight MIAA A Conference championship with a 5-3 win over Gilman at Loyola Blakefield. A day earlier, Boys’ Latin captured its first MIAA B Conference title in eight years with a 7-4 win over Severn at Ripken Stadium.
Since the season is over, we’ll wrap things up with one more Prep Ballplayer of the Week contest. Our award has been designed all year as a way to highlight three of the top high school performances in the area over the previous week.
Then, our readers vote – early and often – for the finalist they believe should be our winner. To vote, make your selection at the bottom of this post. This week, voting will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night. We’ll reveal the winner sometime next week when we share the inaugural “BaltimoreBaseball.com Diamond Nine” with our readers.
What is the Diamond Nine?
I’m glad you asked. It’s our year-end selection of the best high school baseball players in the Baltimore area. We’ve been following the action around the region and selecting the best weekly performers over the past two-plus months.
Now, it’s time for us to unveil our picks for the top nine players around here this season. If you would like to submit candidates to be considered for the list, please send the player’s name, key statistics or notable games, as well as your contact information to [email protected].
Details on each of the three candidates for Prep Ballplayer of the Week – for the games from May 23 to 30 – are listed below, as well as the other players who were considered.
THIS WEEK’S FINALISTS
Liam Bowers, Bel Air
Bowers played a key role in Bel Air’s second state championship in the past four years. With the bases loaded and the Bobcats only leading by a run in the sixth inning of Friday night’s Class 4A title game against Quince Orchard, he broke the game open with a bases-clearing double. After Bowers’ clutch hit, Bel Air scored three more runs in the frame to pull away for the 8-1 win. In the game, the sophomore – who also wrestled in the 145-pound weight class for Bel Air this past winter – finished 3-for-4 with two stolen bases. Bowers also propelled the Bobcats to an 8-0 victory over Bowie, of Prince George’s County, in the state semifinal. He led off that game with a walk, stole second and later scored the first run. One inning later, Bowers added an RBI single. In six playoff victories, the Bobcats outscored their opponents, 34-1.
Jake Sheesley, Patterson Mill
Patterson Mill has advanced to the state semifinals in four of the past six years, but the Huskies still haven’t been able to break through to win a championship after being shut out by Brunswick to end this season. The junior right-hander did everything he could in Patterson Mill’s Class 1A state semifinal victory over Pikesville last Tuesday, though. In the game, Sheesley held the Panthers to two singles and struck out 12 hitters in the 7-0 win. And although the Huskies failed to do anything offensively as their 18-game winning streak was snapped against the Railroaders on Monday afternoon, Sheesley kept his team in the game by pitching two scoreless innings in relief of starting pitcher Austin Koehn.
Barrett Smith, Archbishop Spalding
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior had five hits – including three for extra bases – in nine at-bats over the two games of the MIAA A Conference championship. In the first game Tuesday – which the Cavaliers lost, 6-5, in nine innings at Ripken Stadium – Smith had a game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings. He finished a home run shy of the cycle and added a stolen base and a run scored. And then Wednesday, in Spalding’s 5-3 victory for the title, Smith had one of the team’s three RBIs with a double in the first inning. Overall, he batted .444 with 14 doubles, 33 RBIs and 27 runs scored in 32 games this season.
Others considered (listed alphabetically): Eric Cheatwood, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel; Drew Ehrlich, Gilman; John Fitzgerald, Gilman; David Fulp, Aberdeen; Pat Goralski, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel; Zach Grace, Boys’ Latin; David Harding, Spalding; Jack Jenkens, Bel Air; Mark Lopez, Boys’ Latin; Carter Sears, Spalding; Joe Seidler, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel; Zach Thompson, Spalding; Michael Yetter, Bel Air.
BALTIMOREBASEBALL.COM PREP BALLPLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Week 1 (April 4-10): Billy Godrick, Archbishop Spalding
Week 2 (April 11-17): Jack Sheehan, Loyola Blakefield
Week 3 (April 18-24): Michael Yetter, Bel Air
Week 4 (April 25-May 1): Bryce Logan, Fallston
Week 5 (May 2-8): Brandon Martin, Westminster
Week 6 (May 9-15): Tyler Blohm, Archbishop Spalding
Week 7 (May 16-22): Anthony Cuellar, Aberdeen