ARLINGTON, Va. – The Stevenson baseball team wrapped up their 2018 campaign by scoring in all but two innings including a 12-run eighth to defeat Marymount University (Va.) in non-conference play on Tuesday afternoon at the Bishop O'Connell High School baseball field.
Stevenson (19-20) was led by a pair of sophomores in Kevin Murray Jr. and Alex Kidwiler who combined for eight hits, six RBIs, and a double. Seniors Billy Small, Jake Dimon and John D'Aquanno totaled seven hits and drove in ten runs, including four doubles. Small paced the group with five RBIs and three doubles. Freshman Nate Perkins chipped in a base knock, scored twice, and drove one home.
The Green and White struck in their half of the first against Marymount (13-22) starter Drew Mead as with one out Murray singled up the middle. Then during the D'Aquanno at-bat, Murray stole second before D'Aquanno flew out left for out two. That brought Small to the dish and he plated Murray with a double to deep left-field putting the Mustangs on the board. Sophomore Mark Terrell went down watching strike three to end the threat. Sophomore Tyler Graham took to the mound to begin the home-half of the frame and was greeted rather rudely as leadoff hitter Conner Hall took the 1-0 offering over the wall in left to knot the game at 1-1. Back-to-back singles for Kaden Darrow and Casey Baker put two on with still no one out for Luke Tyree. He became the first out of the game for Graham as he whiffed on strike three. Nick Smutko then laid down a sacrifice bunt moving both runners into scoring position. The next hitter was Michael Wade who earned a walk to load the bases for Jake Mellor who grounded out to second limiting the damage to just one. After the visitors were set down one-two-three in the top of the second the Saints had runners at second and third with two gone for Baker. He grounded out to third to bring the threat to a halt.
As the game shifted to inning number three still tied 1-1, junior Matthew Kerber looked to start a rally with a one-out base hit through the left-side. He was followed up by Murray to put men at first and second still with one away. Then with D'Aquanno in the both Kerber and Murray swiped a bag moving two into scoring position. D'Aquanno would eventually ground on back to the pitcher which held the runners and provided out two. Small was able to provide some two-out thunder with a bases-clearing double to deep right-center plating both men to make it 3-1. In the last of the third with one gone Smutko drew a walk and Wade singled. Both men would move up 90-feet when Graham uncorked a wild pitch putting runners at second and third with Mellor at-bat. He picked up an RBI with a groundout back to Graham scoring Smutko. Bryan Harris walked to put runners at the corners for James DiGiulian who grounded out to short to retire the side with the score 3-2. The away side added to their advantage in the top of the fourth as Dimon led off with a walk before both Kidwiler and Perkins singled to fill the bases for Kelly. He could not deliver a run-scoring play as he flew out to left. The next hitter was Kerber and during his at-bat, Mead unleashed a wild pitch moving everyone 90-feet including plating Dimon. Kerber eventually went down watching a third strike and Murray fouled out to third ending the rally at just 4-2. Freshman Michael Smell was brought out of the bullpen to begin the Marymount part of the fourth and he recorded a perfect shutdown inning getting a pair of groundouts and a fly out. In the fifth, the Mustangs added to the lead against the Saints new pitcher Stephen Gerade as with two on and one out Dimon hit a sacrifice fly to left scoring Small. Kidwiler then hit a single but was thrown out trying to advance to second to prevent more damage. Smell was strong in the bottom of the fifth as he gave up a walk but induced two ground balls and a strikeout to keep the score 5-2.
The Green and White broke things open in the sixth frame scoring four more times. Perkins opened things up with a walk, senior Michael Rhodes was hit by a pitch from Gerade, and then Kerber walked to load the bases which signaled the end of the day for Gerade who was replaced by Matt Galarza. The next two hitters delivered run-producing plays with Murray singling up the box and D'Aquanno hitting into a double-play. Small then continued his strong day with an RBI double down the line in right scoring Kerber. Junior Jonathan Lugo pinch-hit for Terrell and was walked putting two on and two out for Dimon. He knocked a base hit to left-center plating Small. Perkins would reach safely on a fielder's choice but Dimon was forced out at third to end the top of inning six at 9-3. Marymount chipped away at the lead in their half after DiGiulian singled with one out he went to second on a walk to Hall and stole third with Darrow at-bat. Smell then hurled a wild pitch letting the runner in from third base. He then got the batter to ground out before walking Baker. With two gone junior CJ Kilpatrick was summoned from the pen to face Javier Herrera and he got him to fly to Murray in center keeping it 9-3. In the seventh Stevenson continued to swing a hot bat as with two away and a runner at second D'Aquanno doubled to left-center off of Kenny Sysyn driving home Kerber. Lugo struck out swinging to end the rally. Kilpatrick kept the hosts silent in their half only allowing a single to right-center.
The Mustangs put the game out of reach in the top of the eight as they scored a season-high 12 runs in the inning as they sent 17 men to the plate and made the Saints use four pitchers. During the rally, the Green and White plated nine men before they had even recorded an out. In that streak, Kidwiler produced an RBI double, while Kerber, Murray, D'Aquanno, and Small all drew bases-loaded walks that drove in runs. Still, with the bases full junior Jordan Moore, Dimon, and Kidwiler each posted consecutive RBI singles. The only multiple RBI knock came off the bat of Murray who scored two with a base hit to right-center. Junior Connor Wasilnak was the final out of the frame when he went down swinging against Collin Bazemore with the score 22-3. Marymount would get runners on in the eighth and ninth but would not score as a fly out from Harris off of sophomore Michael King ended the game.
Stevenson starter Graham (4-2) earned the win going three giving up two runs on five hits with two strikeouts. The four-man bullpen combination of senior Eric Prachniak, Smell, Kilpatrick, and King went six innings surrendering one run on three hits and fanned three.
The Mustangs wrap-up the 2018 season winning two in a row and three of their last five. Coach Dave Gage has a good returning core with starting pitchers junior James Wiercinski, sophomore Zach Kaye, and Graham expected to be back. On the offense table-setters Murray and Kerber should return to pace a potent Green and White attack. Things will be looking up for Stevenson when they return to the field in February of 2019.