Baseball: Andrew Culp shines as Maret routs Flint Hill in MAC tournament final


Maret senior ace Andrew Culp, pictured during an April 23 win over Riverdale Baptist, struck out 14 and hit a homer run to lead the Frogs to the MAC tournament title. (Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST)
May 16, 2013

Maret senior right-hander Andrew Culp has a duffel bag in which he stores game balls he earns from standout performances.

Culp should have two souvenirs to drop in from Thursday’s Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference championship. One for striking out 14 batters in the Frogs’ 10-2 win at Flint Hill and another that could have been tracked down over the fence, a home run that highlighted his two-hit, three-RBI effort.

Culp allowed no earned runs and five hits to cap an emphatic end of the season for Maret (24-4), which won its last eight games by a combined score of 89-5.

The Frogs will assemble one more time when they play in the D.C. High School Baseball Classic on June 2 at Nationals Park. But the victory at Flint Hill in the final MAC game felt more like an ending than a continuance for the Frogs’ seven senior starters, among a dozen 12th-graders overall, who posed for pictures and shared in a group hug with Coach Antoine Williams.

“There’s so much chemistry that goes on because we’ve been playing for four years together,” Culp said. “We’ve really come a long way. When we were sophomores and we won the league championship we sort of relied on the two seniors to lead us. From all of us some leaders have emerged.

“It was kind of a difficult transition trying to be the older guys and having the whole load on your shoulders. But we knew if everybody plays together and executes what we needed to do that we were going to have a good season.”

Flint Hill (21-5) was playing its third game in as many days and has another game Friday because the MAC and Virginia Independent School Athletic Association tournaments run concurrently. The Huskies were so pressed for pitching in the MAC final that their second hurler, freshman Jordan Taylor, was making his varsity debut.

The Huskies allowed an unearned run in the first inning and in the bottom of the second had runners on second and third and no outs. Culp got out of the inning via strikeout, botched suicide squeeze and another strikeout.

Maret scored three runs in the top of the third, two on a Culp triple, and the rout was on.

The MAC regular season champion is considered the league titlist, so Flint Hill and Maret will go down in league annals as co-MAC champions. With the emphasis shaded toward the regular season, Flint Hill Coach Tom Verbanic considered the state tournament the greater priority. He threw his ace, junior Tommy Doyle, in the state quarterfinals Tuesday against Richmond school Benedictine. The Huskies play Trinity Episcopal in the state semis Friday in Colonial Heights.

“We’re excited about going,” Verbanic said. “We’re going to go down there and play as hard as we can play, and hopefully we’ll play a little better than we played today.”

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