STEVENSON, Md. – The Stevenson baseball team finally got back on the field after having not played a game since last Sunday at Widener due to the inclement weather that swept through the region last week. Visiting Sugar Field on Monday afternoon was MAC Commonwealth leader Hood College. Both games were tightly contested affairs, but ultimately the Mustangs came out on the short end of a 6-4 loss in game one and a wild 13-12 defeat in the second.
In game one, Stevenson (11-6, 2-2 MAC Commonwealth) senior Jake Dimon went 2-2 at the dish including a double knocking in two and scoring a run. Sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. also added two hits, an RBI, and drew a walk. Seniors John D'Aquanno and Bill Small along with junior Matthew Kerber each finished with a hit and combined to cross the plate twice.
Hood (16-1, 4-1 MAC Commonwealth) got on the board right out of the gate against Mustangs junior starter James Wiercinski picking up a pair of runs in the top of the first. After Cam Esposito led off with a strikeout Daniel Shepherd singled right center. He then stole second and took third on a balk with Dylan Beck at-bat. Beck eventually drew a walk, but on the fourth ball it skipped up off the dirt and got behind the catcher Dimon which allowed Shepherd to score and the batter to go to second. The next hitter was Dylan Johnson who stroked a double to left plating Beck making the score 2-0. Nathan Kessler singled to right putting Blazers at the corners with one out. He was then caught stealing by Dimon trying to reach second. Drake Friend and Jordan Patterson followed with walks to load the bases. However, Brooks Warrenfeltz went down watching strike three to end the threat. The bottom of the first saw the home side go one-two-three versus Hood starter Nate Luscombe.
With the margin still 2-0 heading to the bottom of the third Dimon opened the inning up with a two-bagger to deep right-center. Senior Michael Rhodes then popped out followed by a strikeout from sophomore Brady Kessler leaving one on second with two away for Murray. He smacked a double to center letting Dimon come home. That brought Kerber to the dish who singled out to right plating Murray. D'Aquanno went down swinging to end the third tied 2-2. The Mustangs then went in front in the last of the fourth. Sophomore Mark Terrell reached on an error and Small picked up a hit to right setting up first and second with no out. Luscombe then induced a double play ball out of sophomore Alex Kidwiler moving Terrell to third. Dimon was next into the batter's box. He knocked one into right scoring the runner moving Stevenson in front 3-2. Rhodes followed with a swinging strikeout to halt the rally.
Going to the bottom of the sixth the home side was still holding onto a slim one-run edge. D'Aquanno began things with a high chopper over the head of the pitcher for a single. Senior pinch-hitter Michael Kelly was then summoned off the bench to hit for Terrell. He laid down a bunt trying just to move the runner over, but he also reached safely when the catcher overthrew the first baseman allowing both runners to take an extra bag to put Mustangs at second and third with no outs. After Small was intentionally walked to load the bases freshman Kevin Barrett was set down on strikes for the first out. Dimon then plated D'Aquanno on a sacrifice fly to right field. With two gone and the bags full Kessler flew to left to retire the side with the score 4-2.
Senior Eric Prachniak took the bump to open the seventh looking for the save. The first three batters reached safely on a double, error, and walk to set up bases loaded and no one gone for the Blazers. Daiven Sanchez went down on strikes for the first out. The next hitter was Wayne Baldwin who grounded out to Kessler at short for an RBI groundout. That was the end for Prachniak as freshman Patrick Sullivan was grabbed from the bullpen to face leadoff hitter Esposito who hit a soft looping liner down the right field line scoring two runs handing Hood a 5-4 edge. Shepherd then stepped into the box and during his at-bat, Esposito stole third and scored on the throw down to third by Dimon. Shepherd tripled to right putting a runner at third with two down for Beck. He faced the third pitcher of the inning in sophomore CJ Kilpatrick who got the batter to tap one back to the mound for the final out. In the bottom of the seventh Luscombe took to the hill in search of the complete game victory. Murray led off with a single out to left but was erased when Kerber hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The last hope was D'Aquanno who lifted one into left that was tracked down by Beck for the final out.
Stevenson starter Wiercinski took the no-decision going five giving up two runs on seven hits and fanned seven. Prachniak took the loss lasting two-thirds of an inning letting in three runs on just one base knock. The bullpen combination of junior Mike Elia, Sullivan, and Kilpatrick went 1.1 surrendering one run on three hits and picked up a strikeout.
In game number two Stevenson hit first as they were considered to be the away side since Hood was supposed to host the doubleheader this past weekend. The Mustangs were paced by Murray going 3-6 with an RBI and run scored. Freshman Nate Perkins, Rhodes, and Kessler each picked up two hits combining to score four runs and knock in six. Four other players picked up a hit.
With the game, scoreless going to the bottom of the second Hood would be first to crack the scoreboard versus sophomore starter Tyler Graham. Friend and Shepherd came up with back-to-back singles with one down to bring up Eric Turner. He picked up an RBI with a base hit to left scoring friend and allowing Patterson and himself to move up a bag on the throw. Quinn Fulton was next he grounded out to Small plating Patterson. Esposito knocked in the third run of the frame with a triple down the right-field line. Kessler grounded out to D'Aquanno at third to retire the side. At the end of two, it was 3-0 Blazers. Stevenson responded with a four-spot in the top of inning number three. As with Small at second Kidwiler drew a walk setting up two on with one out. With runners at second and third, Rhodes stepped in against starter Brad Sawyer and watched as he unleashed a wild pitch plating Small. After Rhodes drew a free pass Ryan D'Allesandro was called in to pitch to Kessler. During the at-bat, Rhodes stole second and went to third on a wild throw by the catcher allowing Kidwiler to come in. D'Allesandro then returned his attention to Kessler and watched as he roped one down the left field line for a two-run homer the first of his Stevenson career edging the Mustangs in front 4-3 after two and a half.
The would be short-lived however as Hood came roaring back scoring five in the bottom of the inning. Big hits in the frame were a two-run knock to left by Friend scoring Shepherd and Sanchez. Then against senior reliever Kenny Armiger Warrenfeltz drew a based loaded walk plating Friend. The next hitter was Esposito who stepped in with the bases full and smacked a two-run single out to right. He was then caught stealing and Kessler grounded out to short to retire the side at 8-4 at the end of three.
In the fourth, the scoring continued as both sides would add to their totals. First for Stevenson in the top-half with a runner at second and one out Small picked up an RBI infield single as D'Aquanno scored on the throw. After Kidwiler singled to center Moore reached on an error by the second baseman allowing Small to come home. Rhodes then struck out swinging against reliever Jake Howell for the final out. The bottom of the inning saw Hood score four more times. With the bases loaded Beck came in on a wild pitch from freshman Chris Osborn. Freshman Michael Smell then came in from the bullpen to face Patterson with the bags still full. He drew a walk to plate Sanchez and kept the bases juiced. After strikeouts of Turner and Joe Kroeger with Esposito at the dish, Shepherd scored on a wild pitch. Kessler was then hit by a pitch to knock in Friend. At the end of four, it was 12-6 for Hood.
Stevenson started the comeback in the top of the fifth. With runners at the corners and no outs, Kerber hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Kessler advancing Murray to second. Then with one out and bases loaded Perkins came in to pinch-hit for Kidwiler. He sent one back up-the-box plating both Murray and D'Aquanno putting Small at second. That brought Connor Henniges out of the pen to replace Howell to face Dimon who drew a walk to fill the bags again. Rhodes then was issued a free pass knocking home Small. Kessler struck out looking to stop the rally at 12-10. After a scoreless sixth the Mustangs went to bat in the top of the seventh needing two to prolong the game. Terrell and Small were both put away on grounders putting all the pressure on Perkins to keep it alive. He singled through the left side and Dimon drew a walk setting runners on first and second. Rhodes smacked one into center scoring Perkins trimming it to 12-11. Kessler was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Murray. He lined one into center scoring the pinch-runner Barrett, but Rhodes was gunned down at the plate on a strong throw from Esposito in center. In the bottom of the frame, with the bases full of Blazers after a single, intentional walk and hit batter Patterson stepped in against freshman Phil Wugalter. He drew a walk allowing Beck to score the winning run 13-12.
Stevenson starter Graham took a no-decision going 2.1 giving up seven runs on seven hits and struck out two. Wugalter (0-1) took the loss lasting 0.1 innings letting in one run on one knock and fanned one. The rest of the bullpen gave up six runs on just two hits over 3.2 frames.
The Mustangs will look to salvage the series tomorrow Tuesday, March, 27 when they conclude their three-game series with Hood at Frederick Community College. First pitch against the Blazers is set for 3:30pm.