Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deja Vu!

by James Peters
Staff Writer
After watching Gaithersburg Post 295 overcome sizable deficits during a two-game championship sweep at last weekend’s Montgomery Division tournament, Gaithersburg Post 104 manager Joe Stolz compared his team’s neighborhood rival to Jason, the “Friday the 13th” character for Post 295’s ability to rise time and again from seeming defeat.
When the two teams hooked up again Friday in a first round Maryland State American Legion contest at the University of Maryland’s Shipley Field, the nightmare that is Post 295 haunted Stolz and his squad once again as the host squad turned a 7-2 seventh-inning deficit into an 11-7 victory.

Post 295 (27-5) scored nine times in the seventh inning to turn the five-run deficit into the eventual four-run victory that places it into Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. contest with Frederick Post 11 (31-2), which dismantled Cumberland Post 13, 34-3, in seven innings earlier in the day.
Post 104 (18-11) will now square off against Post 13 at 12:30 p.m. with the loser being bounced from the tournament.

“We just don’t want to go down,” said Post 295 right fielder Matt Civetti, who helped spark the nine-run rally with a two-run single and a pair of runs. “We don’t want to go down to a team that’s so close to us. We just never get up. We just turn on the bats.”
Post 295’s resurrection began against Post 104 ace pitcher Nick Riley, who limited his opponent to just two runs – both coming in the third inning – in his first six innings of work but Post 295 worked a couple of runs against him in the seventh, forcing Stolz to lift him in favor of Mike Linkins.

Stolz said he should have taken Riley out when the first two runners reach base, allowing Linkins to take over with two on and no out and Post 104 still up five runs. Instead, Linkins entered with the bases loaded and one out and was roughed up for seven more runs before getting out of the inning when Gary Schneider was caught stealing at third base.
In between Riley’s departure and the throw out, Post 295 used a bases-loaded walk by Spencer Pearman, two run-scoring singles by Tyler Ewing and Nick Loftus and a pair of two-run hits by Schneider and Civetti to take its first lead of the game.

“When the first two batters got on, I should have taken Riley out,” said Stolz, whose team was also plagued by numerous stranded runners. “His pitch count was near 100. I went out and talked to him and he said he was fine but I should have known better. That was a mistake. I didn’t take him out, out of respect for him and [catcher] Ben [Silverman]. Both said he was strong.”
With the lead, Brian Black pitched three shutout innings in relief to seal the victory. Black relieved Pearman, who allowed two runs in his 3 2/3 innings of work. Pearman had not taken the mound all season but with ace pitcher Jimmy Reed held back for another day of rest and with Gazette Player of the Year Dominique Vattuone out with a broken jaw suffered last weekend when he was hit by a pitch, Pearman was summoned out of center field.

“He told me before the game I would go a few innings,” Pearman said. “My arm was feeling great. I was trying to hold them. I tried to do my job. I threw a bullpen four days ago.”
Like in the teams’ two division championship games, Post 104 opened an early lead, scoring five runs on four run-scoring singles by Tim Riley, Kory Smigocki, Mike Campos and Evan Pappas and a wild pitch thrown by surprise starter Zach Skellchock in the bottom of the first inning. Kenny Beyer opened the game with a double.

Post 104 had a chance to add to that lead in the top of the second, loading the bases with three straight walks with two down but Skellchock was able to get Pappas to flyout to catcher Gary Schneider. It did, however, capitalize on an inning-opening double down the left field line by Mike Murphy in the third inning, however, for a 6-0 lead. Murphy scored the sixth run on a single to right field by Beyer to chase Skellchock in favor of Pearman.

Post 295 finally got on the board in the bottom of the third inning, striking for two runs on three hits, a hit batsman and a fielder’s choice. Ewing and Mike Ryan scored on a single by Loftus and a fielder’s choice groundball hit by Nick Karis with the bases loaded, cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Post 104 loaded the bases in the fifth inning but Pearman struck out Matt Miller looking to end the threat. Pearman almost worked similar magic in the sixth inning, striking out two with runners on second and third. He produced two strikes on Nick Vergelli as well but Vergelli was able to line a shot up the middle for a 7-2 advantage.

“It’s just a rivalry,” Pearman said. “We’ve just to go out there and show them whose better.”

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