- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Trailing 1-0 after six innings, Patuxent finally knocked on the door with a squeeze bunt in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game on May 26 in the Class 2A state baseball championship game at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
Williamsport of Washington County made a similar move in the bottom of the ninth and it was for the state crown.
With junior courtesy runner Tyler Martin on third base and one out, Patuxent head coach Keith Powell ordered Nick Williams and Riley Arnone to be intentionally walked, loading the bases.
Sophomore Brandon Toloso then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt. Martin slid across home plate safely head first, giving Williamsport a 2-1 victory, its first state championship in 37 years.
“We made great plays defensively, but we hit too many flyballs and could not get the key hits,” said Powell afterwards. He was later named the All-County Coach of the Year last spring. “It hurts right now, especially for the seniors, but the guys have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard to get here; we had the best season in school history.”
The state title victory was even more special for Williamsport, which lost its best player in senior pitcher Brendon Colliflower in a car accident that also claimed the life of classmate Samantha Kelly as they drove home from a May 5 prom.
“Hats off to them they are a class act and really deserve it,” Powell said after the loss. “They’ve been through a lot with the death of their pitcher. They battled all game, it’s just a great story.”
Patuxent starter Daniel Castro, now a graduate, pitched 7 2/3 innings, yielding five hits, two walks and the unearned run with four strikeouts. Cody Robertson, now a senior, pitched the rest of the game, giving up two hits and the game-winning run.
“We knew they were going to squeeze, they made a nice play,” Castro said afterwards. He was later named the All-County Athlete of the Year and an All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference first-team selection. “We just came up short.”
Patuxent, the 2A South Region champions after defeating Glenelg of Howard County 1-0 in the region final, had its chances offensively, but couldn’t get the timely hits to put runners in scoring position.
The Panthers finished with an overall record of 18-4 and was third in SMAC with an 8-3 record.