Though Monday’s Montgomery County interdivision baseball game between No. 8 Gaithersburg and Sherwood marked the regular-season finale, both teams saw it as the perfect tuneup for the upcoming postseason.
Instead, a back-and-forth game that lived up to the playoff-like atmosphere sputtered to a 2-2 tie after eight innings, a call made by the umpires with darkness and rain looming in Sandy Spring.
“When two teams like this lock horns, the last thing you want to see is it end in a draw,” Sherwood Coach Sean Davis said. “Like I told my players afterward, I’m not sure how I feel about it.”
Gaithersburg junior Evan Colon was equally torn, saying “even though we have the first seed in the [Maryland 4A] West bracket locked up, I was hoping we’d finish it tomorrow or something because the intensity was high.”
Part of the intensity was cultivated by the return of Sherwood ace Matt Chanin, who made his first start after rehabbing from a sprained elbow suffered in December. The junior right-hander appeared to be in midseason form, striking out five batters and allowing just two hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“I felt good out there,” Chanin said. “I think I struggled some with my first-pitch strikes, and throwing strikes is one of my strengths, so I was probably a little anxious. But I was able to battle back.”
Chanin, who has excelled at the plate during his absence from the mound, recorded his 23rd RBI of the season when he hit a triple to bring home Mike Zerafa in the fifth for Sherwood (12-3-1).
Sherwood, which had lost two of its last three, appeared headed for victory when Patrick Kemper’s single to center field brought Daniel Johnson home in the sixth inning. But on what would have been the game’s final out in the seventh, a Sherwood throwing error allowed Gaithersburg’s JP Herbert to score and tie the game at 2. The umpires called the game one inning later after both teams failed to produce a hit in the eighth.
“I told our guys afterward, if you wanted to know what a region final feels like, this was it,” said Gaithersburg Coach Jeff Rabberman, whose team is 15-2-1. “The intensity of that game and going against a pitcher like Matt will only help us because the deeper we hopefully get in the playoffs, the more games we’ll have like that.”