Spalding Defeats Calvert Hall For MIAA A Championship

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On May 18, As Aaron Barclay stepped to the plate in the third inning with two runners on and just one out, he had an opportunity to give the Archbishop Spalding baseball team some breathing room in its quest to capture its first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title since 2011.

Moments later, Barclay did just that, hammering a 3-1 fastball over the left field fence at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen to lift the Cavaliers to a 5-1 lead over Calvert Hall and put them on course to a 5-2 victory and the program’s second MIAA A championship.

Spalding got seven innings of two-run ball from lefty starting pitcher Jordan Carr and a RBI double from River Laskey down the right-field line as part of a two-run first inning that jump-started the Cavaliers’ effort to win the title.

“It’s huge,” Spalding head coach Joe Palumbo said. “I think it just shows the league and the area that we’re a true program, that [the] first one wasn’t just a flash in the pan, that we’re here to stay, that we’re here to compete. This is our goal every year. Two out of four isn’t bad. To beat the defending champions while doing it, it’s an awesome feeling.”

Spalding (24-4) was the top seed in the MIAA A Conference double-elimination tournament and came to Ripken Stadium with two shots at beating the defending-champion Cardinals, who had already lost once. Monday, May 19’s winner-take-all “if necessary” game proved to be unnecessary.

Carr worked in and out of trouble all evening, allowing six hits, walking five and allowing a base runner in every inning but the third. He got out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the second inning by inducing a fielder’s choice ground ball, then got out of another jam in the fourth inning – this time with two on and two out – by inducing a fly ball to center fielder Billy Godrick. He also struck out five while throwing 136 pitches and got the final batter to ground out to shortstop Kevin Heiss, who threw over to first baseman Paul Diven to seal the championship.

“I had the mentality of, ‘there’s no way I was coming out, whatsoever’,” Carr said, crediting his curveball as being a weapon to miss bats when he needed to do so. “I felt good one through seven. I had a lot of adrenaline going, so that was a good feeling. Felt great.”

Barclay’s homer held up as the biggest hit of the day against Calvert Hall right-hander Nick Delp, who gave some trouble to right-handed hitters with his sidearm delivery.

“I kind of struggled to find my swing lately but I found it today,” Barclay said. “I was looking for something middle-in. Backed off the plate a little bit. Got to credit Nick Delp; he got me both the first and last [at-bat]. He laid it in there middle-in, and I pulled it.”

The victory capped off the high school career for Spalding seniors Laskey, Diven, David Hunt, Darrien Ragins, Michael Comer, Jonathan Lane and Tyler Ambrose.

“It’s a special group,” Palumbo said of his seniors. “It’s a mixture of talent, grit, hard-working kids. Not only did they win a championship, but I think they changed the culture at Spalding, where it used to be a lot of individual talent going out there and playing, to where it’s really a team attitude and team approach and doing whatever’s going to help the team first.”

The MIAA A Conference champion Archbishop Spalding baseball players are Barclay, Carr, Laskey, Godrick, Heiss, Diven, Ragins, Comer, Lane, Ambrose, Sears, Harding, Blohm, Drew Hunt, David Hunt, Zack Gunning, Ezio Rebechi, Anthony DeCesaris, Thomas Gavin, LaVale Hodges, Frederick Wall, Regan Owens, James Holson, Andrew Kitzman, Matthew Binder and Zachary Harber.

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