Raptor Report – MC Baseball v Hagerstown

On a cold and windy day on the Germantown
Campus of Montgomery College, the 12 and 5 MC Raptors, ranked #9 in the latest NJCAA
D3 National Top Ten, took on MDJUCO rival, the D1 Hawks from Hagerstown. MC, fresh off a double header sweep over Prince
George’s came in with a three game winning streak; while the Hawks, 11-9 overall, were
on a three game losing streak. MC went with Mike Hovermill on the mound,
he came in with a record of 3-0; while Hagerstown countered with their ace Colby Shimmel, 3-1
so far with a 2.83 ERA. After as scoreless first, MC scratched out
a run in the second when catcher Austin Grass reached on a throwing error and eventually
came around to score on a fielder’s choice ground out by Steve Clapper. But the Hawks answered in their half of the
third. Robbie Hauck led off with a double and then
tied it at one, when he scored on an error. And then a Tanner Helms’ sacrifice fly put
Hagerstown on top 2-1. And it stayed that way as both starting pitchers
were dominant. After that 2 run third, Hagerstown couldn’t
touch Hovermill. And he did get some nice defensive support;
Steve Clapper with a fine running catch to end the fourth and snuff a potential Hawk’s
rally. And Hagerstown’s Shimmel was even tougher,
every time MC even thought of threatening, he shut it down. But after Hovermill went 6 full, throwing
99 pitches, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 6. MC went to the pen and Hagerstown promptly
scratched out an insurance run when Houck reached on a bunt and then came around to
score on a Geraghty Stowe single to right. And then the Hawks seemingly put this one
out of reach when they loaded the basses in the top of the ninth and then Tanner Helms
promptly cleared them with a bases loaded triple to make it a 6-1 Hawks lead, with MC
down to their last at bat. Hagerstown turned to their closer Patrick
O’Connor in the ninth. Shimmel had given them eight dominant innings,
allowing just 3 hits, no earned runs, while striking out 5; but he had also thrown 130
pitches. And it started innocently enough with a Harold
Marte lead off single. A walk to Darren Prebble put two on with no
outs. Then Clapper’s pretty bunt loaded them up;
no harm so far, but the sacks were full with no outs. MC turned to pinch hitter Chris Coakley and
he lined one into center to score Marte and Prebble, still 6-3 Hagerstown; but no outs. O’Connor rebounded with a strike out for the
first out of the inning. But a Sean Sullivan fielder’s choice grounder
brought in Clapper and all of a sudden it was a two run game; but MC was also down to
its last out. But after taking a first pitch strike, Ryo
Fabre took an O’Connor fast ball to right to drive in pinch runner Chris Amparo to make
it a one run game. That brought up Will Burgess, MC’s second
baseman, who was hitless on the day. He looked at strike one and then took a ball
outside to even the count. And then on the third pitch of the at bat,
with two outs, O’Connor left a fast ball up and the small but powerful Burgess put a beautiful
swing on it and drove it far over the right field fence for a dramatic, heart-stopping,
two-run, walk-off homer to give the Raptors an improbable, out-of-the-blue 7-6 comeback
win and ignite a wild home plate celebration. What a win! Just when you thought this one was going down
as a dominant Hagerstown win, the Raptors rose up and grabbed it to move to 13-5 on
the season. It’s the type of win that can define a team
and build a huge reservoir of confidence and it belongs to Montgomery College. For the Raptor Report, I’m Michael Brown

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