THURMONT, Md. — Williamsport’s quest for a second straight Maryland Class 2A state baseball title was cut short Friday in the 2A West regional title game, as Catoctin defeated the Wildcats 5-1.
“I think we were one or two plays away. A hit here, a pitch there and maybe this would have been a different ballgame,” said Williamsport coach David Warrenfeltz. “We ran into a team that played better than us and took advantage of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of.”
The Wildcats (15-7) couldn’t find a way to solve the Cougars’ arms, as they only managed four hits.
Seth Schubert kept Williamsport’s bats at bay over five innings, finishing with six strikeouts and two walks for Catoctin (17-4). Schubert didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, a double by Tristin Baker. Colby Byers singled Baker in for the Wildcats’ only run.
“I couldn’t even describe being out there. The pressure’s amazing. I’ve never been in a regional championship before,” said Schubert. “I knew that if (Williamsport) kept hitting ground balls that we’d keep fielding them. Without my infield and outfield, I wouldn’t be here.”
While Catoctin’s defense backed Schubert’s pitching, the Cougars (17-4) only needed one key hit on offense. With the bases loaded in the second, No. 9 batter Connor Cool stroked a two-run double to left center to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I’m looking for a pitch that I can hit. If (the pitcher) gives me a fastball, I’ll hit it,” said Cool. “It’s the playoffs right now, you’ve got to hit what you can.”
“That’s the great thing about the playoffs, you never know who is going to be the guy that gets you going,” said Catoctin coach Mike Franklin. “We’ve got to be prepared. I tell the guys in practice that you’ve got to be ready. And there’s the No. 9 batter carrying us through the game.”
Williamsport had an opportunity to do damage in the fifth. Riley Arnone singled and stole second base before Nick Williams reached on a dropped third strike, allowing Arnone to advance to third. However, Schubert forced a groundout to escape unscathed.
Catoctin loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth before Arnone pitched out of trouble — seemingly giving the Wildcats the emotional lift to get back into the game.
But Cougars pitcher Alex Kennedy prevented any comeback attempts by Williamsport, pitching two innings of shutout ball with two strikeouts.
Catoctin put the game out of reach with three runs in the sixth, highlighted by a leadoff home run by Mark Smith. Cool and Braden Thompson came around to score on a two-run error.
“(Smith) had a look in his eye that was so focused, I knew that he was going to do something,” said Franklin.
Arnone took the loss for Williamsport, pitching five innings with two strikeouts.
“I’m so proud of the way our boys competed and the way they battled as teammates this year. All I want them to do is play as a team and keep each other motivated, and we did that,” said Warrenfeltz. “We didn’t get to where we had hoped, but I’m so proud to have coached these guys.”
“(Williamsport) has a good group of kids. They battled today,” said Franklin. “I know David. He’s one of my best friends on the field, and that team he coaches takes on his personality. They fight, they compete and they have class.”
Catoctin advances to face 2A North champion Dundalk in the state semifinals Tuesday night at 7 at Mongomery Blair High School.
Catoctin 5, Williamsport 1
Williamsport 000 100 0 — 1 4 2
Catoctin 020 003 x — 5 9 3
Arnone, Ruppenthal (6) and Byers. Schubert, Kennedy (6) and Johnson. WP — Schubert (6-1). LP — Arnone (4-3). HR — C: Smith (6th, none on).