Sometimes, little mistakes transform into significant breaks in a matter of seconds — say, the time it takes for an outfielder to drop a pop fly, recover and start a relay to home plate. Georgetown Prep was the beneficiary of just such a sequence Saturday en route to claiming the Interstate Athletic Conference baseball tournament title with a 4-1 win over St. Albans.
With the victory, Georgetown Prep (21-9), the IAC regular season champion, secured the league’s outright crown. Saturday marked the third time this season the Little Hoyas defeated St. Albans.
“Usually, when you have a season like we do, if you go back and you look, you got some breaks,” Georgetown Prep Coach Chris Rodriguez said. “They played well, and it worked out. The thing that I’m most happy with is this group has kept its cool all year. Even if they’re down a little bit, they haven’t panicked. They know they can strike, and they’ve done it.”
St. Albans (13-18) struck first with an RBI double by senior center fielder Gabe Roark. Senior shortstop Joe Dobbins then hit a pop fly that Georgetown Prep right fielder Eric Ramsey dropped. Had Ramsey caught the ball cleanly, St. Albans Coach Jason Larocque said later, he would have had Roark tag up, advance to third and remain there.
But once Ramsey dropped the ball and temporary confusion ensued, Larocque sent Roark home. Ramsey threw the ball to shortstop Andrew Frazier, who rifled a throw home that beat Roark to the plate. Georgetown Prep relief pitcher Blake Coolidge struck out the next St. Albans batter to end the inning.
“We run the bases hard, and we try to make things happen,” Larocque said. “The kid bobbled it and threw to a cut-off man who didn’t know where the ball was going to end up, and he turned and threw a 200-foot strike. I mean, I’ll take that gamble every time, especially when you’ve got one run and you’re trying to force something across.”
Entering the bottom of the fifth, the Little Hoyas had struggled to gather momentum against St. Albans senior pitcher Danny Swad. Through the first four innings, Swad allowed two hits and no walks and induced four groundouts to the mound.
But in the fifth, Georgetown Prep sandwiched two singles around another groundout to the pitcher. Swad then recorded his second strikeout of the day before walking consecutive batters to bring home the game-tying run.
Georgetown Prep designated hitter Corey Howard came to bat with two outs and the bases loaded, and he drilled Swad’s second offering — a fastball inside — into deep right-center for a bases-clearing double.
“I had told everyone in the dugout that this was going to be our inning,” Howard said. “Going up there with the bases loaded and two outs, I wanted to back up my words.”