With Chesapeake tied with Thomas Johnson in the Maryland 3A baseball semifinals Tuesday, a freshman delivered the big hit for the Cougars.
Second-seeded Chesapeake (19-3-1) will play top-seeded Towson (17-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cougars’ first state championship game appearance since 2017. The game will be at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.
It seemed fitting that a first-year player came through for Chesapeake, which is led by a first-year coach. Jeff Young, a Chesapeake alumnus and longtime assistant, said bringing Carroll to the varsity level at the beginning of the season was an important decision early in his tenure.
“Early on I was like: ‘Well, I guess I’m going to live and die with Sean. I’m going to be hooked to the side with him, and we’re going to ride him out,’ ” Young said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of him. We’ve asked a lot of him, and he’s delivered.”
The Cougars also got big contributions from one of their most experienced players. Senior pitcher Nick Karls (9-0) starred on the mound and at the plate Tuesday. The Morehead State commit struck out 10 in 6⅓ innings and also hit a pair of doubles — to lead off the game and then in the fourth. He scored after each one.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve grown up watching Chesapeake baseball,” Karls said. “It’s a dream to go out there and do that for everyone in our community.”
Chesapeake scored first but then fell behind 2-1 to Thomas Johnson (19-6). After the Cougars tied the score at 2 in the third, Carroll’s big swing gave them the lead for good.
Chesapeake’s bats were particularly hot in the clutch: All six of the Cougars’ runs came with two outs in an inning.
Being able to come through in those situations is a big reason Young and his squad are optimistic about handling their final opponent for the season.
Reservoir knocked out
No. 5 Reservoir (19-5) made just its second appearance in the 3A semifinals in program history, but a 2-1 loss to Towson was the end of the line for the Gators.
Senior catcher Ben Davis was the only Gator to score Tuesday, tying the game in the fourth inning after hitting a single to right field. It was a pitchers’ duel between Towson’s Jackson Huck and Reservoir’s Jordan Peguese throughout.
A first-inning triple by Justin Mealey had the Generals ahead early, and another run in the fifth was the decider.
Reservoir defeated Howard County champion River Hill in the region finals during its deep playoff run.