Andrew Culp and Maret baseball upset No. 1 Riverdale Baptist

April 23, 2013

Since last season, Maret right-hander Andrew Culp has taken up yoga, with an instructor coming to his house twice a week to work on the senior’s flexibility and breathing.

What Culp really needs is a yoga instructor in the Frogs’ dugout, not so much for himself, but to calm coaches and teammates in those in-and-out-of-trouble innings he seems to frequently find himself in.

“He likes to live dangerously,” senior catcher Austen Maggin said.

Culp pitched out of two such gasp-filled, bases-loaded jams Tuesday afternoon at Jelleff Recreation Center in the District to hurl his team to an 8-3 upset of No. 1 Riverdale Baptist, which 15th-year Maret Coach Antoine Williams said could be the most significant win in program history.

Riverdale had the bases loaded and the top of the order coming up in the fifth but did not score, and had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth when Culp struck out the last two batters.


Riverdale Baptist's Chase Brewis, left, upends Maret's Andrew Reid after unsuccessfully trying to steal second base. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Culp spared the drama in the seventh, retiring the top three batters in the order on groundouts.

“That’s been his secret to success,” Williams said with a laugh. “Get a couple guys on, walk a couple guys, get behind in the count, and ultimately he gets people out. If there’s anybody who knows how to get out of those situations, it’s Andrew Culp.”

“I should probably do a better job sort of focusing up,” said Culp, a Tulane recruit. “Working out of [trouble] is a real testament to my ability to bear down and make pitches when I need to make pitches in those big spots.”

That’s where the yoga comes in, including his session Tuesday morning. It has improved his flexibility and relaxed his mind. Culp said that in the past he would have been too amped up to pitch effectively against the No. 1 team in the area, but with his deep-breathing techniques, he’s dialed in.

“If I was pitching this game last year, it would have been, all right, Riverdale, No. 1 team in [The Post], I’ve got to come out and just pump it down the zone as hard as I can,” said Culp, who struck out six. “But just trying to locate my spots and just trusting my stuff a lot more has helped me this year.”

Staying loose and staying relaxed and not having a prizefighter mentality, it’s perfect [for him],” Maggin said.

Riverdale (21-2), which beat Maret early in the season, took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI hits by juniors Andrew Sharpe and Taylor Bloom. That was all the Crusaders got.

Eight Maret players had hits off two Maryland-bound pitchers, Bloom and senior Chase Brewis. Maggin had two hits and senior Daniel Becker delivered a clutch two-out single to put the Frogs up 4-3 in the fourth.

In the four-run fifth, Maret (16-2) caught a break when Riverdale senior center fielder Matt McPhearson lost a ball in the sun. It hit him around the right eyebrow, causing a knot, but he later returned to the game. He had forgotten his sunglasses at school.

“[This win] doesn’t quite make our season because we’ve still got to work our way through the [Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference],” Maggin said. “But it’s one of those milestones that we wanted to hit at the beginning of the season. It really shows that we can compete with the best.”

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