On a rainy afternoon in Aberdeen, the St. Michaels Saints of Talbot County defeated the Boonsboro Warriors 12-1 in five innings to win the Class 1A Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association championship. It was the fifth state title for the Saints.
“This is a great group of kids,” St. Michaels head coach Brian Femi said. “We had a goal at the beginning of the year: they wanted to get three banners. They wanted to win the region, the conference and this. So, this kind of was the icing on the cake for them.”
How it happened
Boonsboro’s starting pitcher, sophomore right-hander Adam Mathias, cruised through the first two innings. But he collapsed in the third inning. St. Michaels put up seven runs in the top of the third, six of which were charged to Mathias.
The damage was largely self-inflicted – Mathias walked three batters with the bases loaded. Ultimately, he only gave up two hits in two-plus innings, but the walks hurt.
Junior right-hander Aaron Myers relieved Mathias in the third and similarly struggled. Myers surrendered the final run in the third and five more in the fourth. The Saints collected seven hits off Myers.
Femi knew it would take a big day at the plate to win the game.
“We hit extremely well because Boonsboro, I think, is probably one of the best defensive teams that we’ve played,” Femi said. “Great group of athletes, they hit really well. I just thought, ‘We had to score a bunch of runs.’ And we certainly did that.”
St. Michaels junior right-hander Matt Grogan got off to a slow start in the first inning. Two straight errors by shortstop Andrew Risher to open the game led to Grogan surrendering an unearned run on a Josh Tibbs’ RBI single.
“I don’t know if it was nerves,” Femi said. “This is a really relaxed group. A couple of the balls were hit hard, they were tough chances. It’s just a resilient group of kids. They’ve had their backs to the wall a couple other times, and they always seem to find a way to come back.”
Grogan settled down after that first inning. He threw a five-inning complete game, giving up the one unearned run on four hits while picking up four strikeouts, including the championship-clincher.
“Throughout the game, I knew that I had to do my part on the mound to get the ball in my guys’ hands,” Grogan said. “And I knew that they would come through for me in the end.”
Femi said this outing was nothing new for Grogan.
“He’s thrown like this all year,” Femi said. “He had a couple issues with control, but then he settled in. The last five or six starts, he’s been nothing but great.”
A team effort: Only one player in St. Michaels’ lineup failed to get a hit. The Saints batted around in both the third and fourth innings. Senior first baseman Noah Brack led the team, going 2-for-3 with two singles, three RBIs and one run scored. Risher also had a multi-hit day, going 2-for-3 with one double, one single and two runs.
Grogan said the big lead afforded him confidence on the mound.
“That was a sigh of relief,” Grogan said. “All year, my guys have been at the plate just raking the ball. So, it was very, very good for them to come through still again.”