- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
BERLIN – It was reminisce all over again for La Plata's Simeon Spruill as he stepped up to the plate in Saturday afternoon's Class 3A South Region baseball championship game at Stephen Decatur High School in Worcester County.
With no outs in the top of the seventh, Spruill's bases-loaded sacrifice fly brought junior teammate Justin Snell to home plate, lifting La Plata to the eventual 6-5 victory over the Seahawks for its fourth straight region title, and fifth in the last seven years.
Last season, La Plata edged Decatur 5-4 in extra innings of the state semifinals.
“After all of the hard work and dedication, I was excited to see our players piling up in the middle of the infield celebrating a hard earned win,” La Plata head coach John Childers said.
The Warriors (20-3 overall) advances to Tuesday's state semifinals to face North Harford of Harford County at Joe Cannon Stadium in Hanover at 7 p.m. North Harford defeated Franklin of Baltimore County in Friday's 3A North title game.
Spruill also drove in junior Jimmy Monaghan (2 hits) on a sacrifice fly in the first inning to make the score 3-0 before Decatur even got a chance to bat.
“I had the team behind me and a lot of confidence at the plate,” Spruill said. “When they walked [Alex Calvert], I just went up there and did the job. I wanted to put the ball in play deep enough where we would get the run.”
La Plata was up 5-0 after two innings before Decatur tied the game up at 5 after four.Calvert preserved the victory from the mound, striking out two of the first three batters in the bottom of the seventh, while forcing Decatur's Chase Coursey to ground out for the final out of the game.
Calvert, a University of South Carolina commit, struck out seven in a complete-game effort to go along with three walks and five hits.
Decatur's Grant Donahue, a University of Virginia commit, pitched all seven innings, and had eight strikeouts. He walked six batters, allowed six hits and five earned runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Decatur had a chance to break the tie with Andrew Borradaile on third base and Austin Dundore on second with one out following a sacrifice bunt from Ryan Bennett. However, Decatur's Lane Dillon hit a grounder back to Calvert, Borradaile was caught in a rundown and was tagged out by catcher Andrew Wisniewsky as he was sliding home for the go-ahead run.
“Playing these guys last year we knew they were going to be tough and are well coached,” Decatur head coach Rich Ferro said. “We knew it was going to be tight and the last two years they've beat us by one run. They can hit and run the bases well. We battled, we just came up short.”
Justin Meekins hit a one-out, bases loaded double to the gap in right field, clearing the bases to bring Decatur to within 5-3. Coursey followed up with an RBI single to cut the Warriors lead to one.
With one out and runners on second and third in the fourth, Dillon's RBI groundout plated Dundore to tie the game at 5.
The Warriors took the early 3-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI double by Monaghan, an RBI single from Calvert and Spruill's sacrifice fly.
In the second inning with two outs, La Plata's David Guare scored all the way from second on an errant throw to first that went out of play for the team's fourth run.
With the bases loaded, La Plata's Denzel Johnson's RBI groundout gave the Warriors a 5-0 lead.
Johnson had three walks and scored two runs, while Snell had two hits and scored two runs with a walk.
La Plata 6, Stephen Decatur 5
La Plata 320 000 1 – 6 6 2
Decatur 004 100 0 – 5 6 1
WP Calvert, LP Donahue
Extra-base hits: 2B – Monaghan (LaP), Spruill (LaP), Meekins (SD)