ABERDEEN — The Boonsboro Warriors fell to the St. Michaels Saints during last year’s Class 1A Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletics Association championship game.
Boonsboro wasn’t going to let that happened a second straight year.
In a thriller Saturday afternoon, the Warriors captured their third state title with a 12-9 victory against St. Michaels in nine innings. That’s a world of difference from their 12-1, five-inning loss to the Saints for the 2017 title.
“These kids never gave up all year long,” Boonsboro head coach Steve Mason said after Saturday’s game. “Their bats have been alive from the first game back in March and they’ve continued the whole season.”
How It Happened
Boonsboro and St. Michaels scored throughout the game. The Warriors got on the board with an RBI groundout in the first, but the Saints answered right back – plating three runs on a single, four walks and a hit batter. Boonsboro then tied it up in the second with a two-run triple by T.J. Kalagher and took the one-run lead the next inning.
But that lead was relinquished when St. Michaels scored twice on a walk and three-straight bunts in the bottom half of the third.
St. Michaels held two-run leads in the fourth and fifth innings before Boonsboro knotted the game at eight thanks to two doubles and a single in the seventh.
In extra innings, the Saints took the lead for good as Josh DeRocher slugged a three-run double in the top of the ninth.
DeRocher was sitting in the sixth-hole as the top of the ninth began. Five batters later, he was stepping up to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.
It was at that moment that Kalagher offered him advice.
“T.J. said, ‘Just act like it’s any other at-bat,’” DeRocher said.
And the junior did.
He belted a fastball over the St. Michaels left fielder for a bases-clearing double and the three-run lead.
“I get up, that fastball was at my letters and I just drove it as far as I could,” DeRocher said.
He later scored the team’s 12th and final run on an RBI single by Kalagher.
Two-out runs: Boonsboro scored 10 of its 12 runs with two outs. The Warriors notched two in the second thanks to a two-run triple by Kalagher. After adding a two-out run in the fourth and fifth, Boonsboro struck again in the seventh, at a crucial moment in the game.
Down 8-6 with two outs, the Warriors notched back-to-back doubles by Ben Burgan and Brendan Kemp, trimming the lead to one. One batter later, Boonsboro tied it – Peyton Mason drove an RBI single up the middle.
“I think we’ve averaged (about) 9.8 runs per game; (and had) multiple games with 10-plus runs,” Mason said. “Just a great hitting team.”
Relief pitching: Adam Mathias had a strong outing in relief for Boonsboro. The junior left-hander gave up one run in the sixth – credited to Warriors’ Brock Smith – and an earned run in the ninth as the team held a 12-8 lead.
Between those two innings, Mathias cruised – allowing only two hits in his four innings of work.
“I just knew I needed to throw strikes and locate the ball down in the zone, so they don’t elevate anything too much,” Mathias said.
On the state championship, Mathias said: “It feels amazing. We’ve wanted this since we got beat last year.”
Mason added about Mathias: “He’s gotten better as he’s gone along. He’s been phenomenal. Comes in and throws strikes. That’s what we need.”