ST. MICHAEL – Maryland State employed a resourceful brand of baseball on Monday afternoon during the 76th AAABA Tournament.
Crabfest stole eight bases as a team and scored its first seven runs all with two outs to defeat North Carolina 12-3 at Forest Hills High School in Pool C.
“I’ll say one thing is it’s good to put pressure on them,” said Maryland State right fielder Sam Canela, who produced three hits, three stolen bases, three runs scored and two RBIs.
“You’re more laid-back. The more runs you put up, the more calm you play and the better you play when you’re calm.”
Matt Day scored four runs and stole two bases for Maryland State. Emanuel Morales amassed two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored in an 11-hit attack.
Starter Daniel Padilla fanned eight batters over five innings for the victory. Joshua Youngberg allowed just one hit over four shutout frames to earn the save.
“Great start,” Maryland State manager Izzy Taylor said.
“We started out rocky. Some approaches to the plate weren’t that good. Once we finally got it going, we had good base running, hustle plays. Defensively, we played a great ballgame.
“Our pitchers threw strikes.”
Despite giving up an early long ball, Padilla settled in and fired five strong innings.
North Carolina’s Hayden Setzer hit a two-run home run in the first inning to force a 2-all tie. Dane Stewart chipped in two hits, but the Disco Turkeys only logged two at-bats with runners in scoring position in their tournament debut.
“My overall thoughts on the game are still predominantly positive, even though we took a loss,” North Carolina manager Kirk Cabana said. “Ultimately, any of the things that happened are correctable mistakes that I know the guys want to get better at themselves. Heck, we get a strikeout to possibly end the inning. They end up scoring three runs after that, so we were right there at a point where the game could have still been much different in any given situation.”
In the top of the first, Maryland State scored when the catcher threw to first base to record a strikeout and on a passed ball.
Setzer clobbered a 1-0 offering to right-center field for a 2-all deadlock.
Maryland State tacked on three more runs in the third. A dropped third strike led to a runner sprinting home. Alex Rivera’s two-run single to right increased the advantage to 5-2.
In the fifth, Morales’ infield single was matched by John Owen’s RBI groundout.
Canela doubled in the seventh and scored on Jordan Daddio’s well-placed RBI single to right field.
The dam broke in the eighth, when Maryland State put the game away with five runs. Canela singled home two runners while Morales, Daddio and Michael Bair produced RBIs.
“My philosophy is you keep the pressure on the opposing team’s defense,” Taylor said.
Elevating the tempo inside the dugout helped the team’s late surge.
“I think one thing that was very important was our energy,” Canela said. “I saw through the fourth inning, they had more energy than us. I was like, ‘We got to get more energy.’ It was the little things, little hits, walks, stealing bases. We play small ball, we didn’t hit a home run today.”
North Carolina starter Chase Jessee struck out 11 batters in five innings.
The southpaw walked six and allowed six runs, two earned.The Disco Turkeys will look to rebound against Youngstown at Roxbury on Tuesday.
“All that we want to care about is that Game 3 matters,” Cabana said. “For Game 3 to matter, we got to win tomorrow. If we go out and win tomorrow, then we’re playing for something for Game 3 for ourselves. That’s what we’re working for.
“We’re going to try to get out of pool play and have a chance to keep competing. I got two of my best arms still available to go in Games 2 and 3.”
Jake Oswalt is a copy editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11.