ABERDEEN — The Century Knights used power hitting and power pitching to beat La Plata, 4-1, on Saturday evening and secure the Carroll County school’s first MPSSAA Class 2A state championship.
How It Happened
It only took two innings for the Knights to go deep — something that the team has done consistently throughout the 2018 season. With two outs and runners on first and second, No. 9 hitter Zach Raico slugged a three-run homer over the left-field fence.
“He blasted that one. Hey, that was it right there,” Century head coach Mike Marrale said about Raico, one of his key seniors.
The Knights added a run in the third – senior Ethan Kiple doubled and scored on an error — but Marrale was right, Raico’s blast was all Century needed as the pitching duo of Jeremy Lapp and Kiple finished the job.
“The saying is, ‘Great pitching beats good hitting,’ and that’s what happened right there today,” Marrale added.
Regarding the championship win and the medal around his neck, Raico was short and to the point, “It feels great, it feels great.”
In five innings of work, Lapp allowed one run on three hits. The senior also struck out four batters.
The right-hander was composed throughout, especially during a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth — his last inning. Lapp struck out La. Plata’s No. 4 hitter, Alex Brown, on three fastballs for the second out and got Zach Harris to fly out to left field.
Marrale’s son, Michael — an Old Dominion commit who was behind the plate — said, “I just tried to call a great game and let my pitchers do what they do best.”
Kiple pitched the championship’s final two innings, retiring all six of the batters he faced.
“That’s been the combo this year, that’s how we won big games,” Marrale added.
Ready to play on the big stage: The Knights weren’t fazed by the state championship game. Why? Because they’ve been preparing for this moment before the start of the season.
“These guys have been focused since we started practice,” Marrale said. “We started lifting weights in September and they’ve been focused since. Come March 1, when they started, they were ready to go. Nothing has fazed them.”
The younger Marrale added, “We’ve been over this situation [state title appearance] multiple times during the summer. The fans didn’t affect us.”
FINAL: Century 4 La Plata 1 … The Knights are your Class 2A state champions – the program’s first title. pic.twitter.com/c4g6zrlsis
— Sean Naylor (@sean_naylor) May 26, 2018