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  • Cam Clark (24) received congratulations from teammates George Lesher and Jordan Hallet after his walk-off home run lifted Severna Park to an 11-9 win over Arundel on Monday.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Cam Clark (24) received congratulations from teammates George Lesher and Jordan Hallet after his walk-off home run lifted Severna Park to an 11-9 win over Arundel on Monday.

Five Homers Power Severna Park To Wild Walk-Off Win Over Arundel, 11-9

Colin Murphy
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March 27, 2018

It’s probably a good thing the Severna Park baseball team learned a pair of valuable lessons when it played host to Arundel on March 26: no lead is safe, and anything can happen.

Fortunately for the Falcons, those lessons came with a promising offensive blitzkrieg and a wild walk-off victory.

Cameron Clark’s towering two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh was the Falcons’ fifth round-tripper of the day and lifted Severna Park to a crazy 11-9 win over the Wildcats in a matchup of two of the 4A East region’s presumptive contenders on Monday.

The exciting finish came only after Severna Park relinquished a seven-run lead in the top half of the inning as the Wildcats rallied from 9-2 down to tie the game and force the hosts to bat one last time.

The game was a scoreless pitcher’s duel through four innings between Clark and Arundel’s Steve Sturlaugson. Clark used a variety of curveballs and fastballs to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard, and Sturlaugson stopped the Falcons from mounting any threats. Both starters pitched out of jams in the first few innings, and tied 0-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, the game looked destined for a final score of 1-0 or 2-1.

Then the Falcon offense came alive. At the plate with one out in the bottom of the fifth, leadoff hitter Jacob Way belted a high-arching blast over the center field fence for a home run to put Severna Park up 1-0.

Clark walked, and Kody Milton followed with a homer of his own, a laser line drive deep over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead.

Suddenly it was a home run party, and everyone wanted in on the action. After George Lesher walked and Brendan Simonds singled to put Falcons on first and third, the Wildcats made a pitching change to bring in Will Schubert. Drew Jeffries promptly greeted Schubert with a home run blast to deep left field, putting the Falcons up 6-0. Jordan Hallet followed with a double, and senior shortstop Nick Horgan belted yet another homer to make it 8-0 before the Wildcats could retire the side.

Arundel responded with two runs in the top of the sixth when Moises Aristy singled and Noel Aristy hit a two-run homer off Clark. Clark gave up a single to Pat Mason before retiring the next three hitters in order, the last two on strikeouts. Clark exited the game having pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out nine.

Severna Park tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth when Milton singled, advanced on a walk and groundout and came home on an RBI-single by Jeffries.

Up 9-2 heading into the top of the seventh, the game looked firmly in hand for the Falcons. But reliever Camden Handwerger surrendered a walk to Greg Borges to start the inning, and Arundel was back to the top of its order. Matt Hageman and Garrett Stanard followed with singles to plate one, and Moises Aristy walked. Michael Isakov came on to pitch and yielded a walk to plate another run and make it 9-4. Milton came on to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs, and the Wildcats’ Mason and Dominic Bromante hit singles to make it 9-7. A double by Schubert plated two more, and Arundel had come all the way back to tie it at 9-9.

“We got a little spark when we got two runs in the sixth, and it was like, ‘Maybe we can do this,’” said Arundel coach Frank Hood. “The mentality is, you can’t ever quit. Last year’s playoff game came to down to the sixth inning, 0-0 ball game, so we understand it’s going to go to the end with Severna Park. It doesn’t matter, you have two really good clubs. That’s how it goes. You’ve got to fight to the end, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Clark, who had subbed out when the pitching change was made, re-entered the game to save the day. After a walk by AJ Weyant, Clark, a senior, drilled a pitch deep into the trees beyond the center field scoreboard to end the game in favor of Severna Park, 11-9. Clark walked slowly down the first base line while watching his moon shot come back down to earth before casually tossing his bat aside, trotting the bases and greeting his teammates at home plate for a rowdy celebration.

“No, I have not,” said Clark, a senior, asked if he’d ever in his life hit a walk-off home run. “I just did what I was supposed to do. That’s what I’m supposed to do and what I’m expected to do. I didn’t get any hits before that. It was a definitely a need.”

Kody Milton said the team has to keep focus even when holding a big lead.

“I think after that big inning everyone thought the game was pretty much over,” he said. “Cam and I were on the bench telling everyone to stay in it. We’ve just got to stay focused…Cam’s going to come out and pitch well, so hopefully we can come out and do this and play a whole seven innings.”

Severna Park coach Eric Milton said that while Clark is the team’s ace, the Falcons’ young pitchers need to continue improving.

“We need guys to step up, these young guys, inexperienced guys to come in and throw strikes when we have a lead and just improve on that,” said Milton, who was nonetheless glad to see the Falcons pop five home runs on opening day. “We knew coming in that was going to be our strength, swinging the bats. We’re going to score runs. But we need to develop our young and inexperienced pitchers if we’re going to go as far as we want.”

For a pair of teams that met in last year’s playoffs and have high aspirations for deep postseason runs again this season, Monday’s matchup might preview a potential playoff meeting. Early in the season, there is buzz in Gambrills and throughout Anne Arundel County about the Wildcats’ strong roster.

That’s just fine with the Falcons.

“All the projections say [Arundel] is the best team, so we like that,” said Kody Milton. “It’s fun for once being the underdog.”

 


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