When Severna Park visited Broadneck earlier in the season, the outcome was a lopsided 11-3 win in a string of 12 consecutive victories to start the Falcons’ season. The rematch at Severna Park on Wednesday was anything but ho-hum.
After Severna Park’s Nathan Clarke smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 7-7, Broadneck answered in the eighth inning as Zach Palmer hit an RBI single up the middle to score the go-ahead run.
The potential county championship preview ended with the Bruins on top, 8-7.
Broadneck now has a 11-2 record to sit atop the standings alongside previously undefeated Severna Park.
Broadneck varsity baseball head coach Matt Skrenchuk said his team, full of younger players, was nervous in the first game between the teams but did not back down this time.
“Yes, Severna Park is a great team, and when they claw back in, you can obviously lose confidence in yourself,” he said, “but those guys didn’t. They believed that they could still win, and they found a way to win.”
After Falcons starting pitcher Seamus Patenaude struck out the side in the first inning, Broadneck loaded the bases in the second inning with a walk, a bobble at first base and a single. With Broadneck having only one out, Nate Schilling hit a pitch through the infield to put the Bruins up 1-0. Patenaude struck out the next two batters to strand the runners.
On the mound for Broadneck, Palmer quieted the Falcons’ offense, and the Bruins kept their bats hot in the third inning, scoring three more runs on a centerfield dinger by sophomore Noah Forman.
Severna Park started to rally in the fourth inning as Nathan Murphy and Matt Fleisher reached base on singles. Clarke knocked in two runs with a double to cut Broadneck’s lead to 4-2.
Schilling added an RBI double in the fifth inning, putting Broadneck ahead 5-2, but the Falcons got a run back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Angel Santiago-Cruz crushed a pitch over Broadneck’s shortstop. A failed pickoff attempt allowed Santiago-Cruz to take third base, and he reached home on a Patenaude single to left field. An infield single and a walk loaded the bases, but Severna Park was unable to capitalize further as Palmer induced a flyout to end the inning.
Broadneck did not cede momentum. Nick Cicale launched a two-run home run to make the score 7-3. But the Bruins also knew a rivalry win would not come that easily. In the bottom of the sixth, Ethan Rodriguez drove a pitch to left centerfield and out of the park for a solo home run. Charlie Hartman then hit a fly ball that turned around a Broadneck outfielder, falling in to bring the Falcons within two runs, 7-5.
That was when Clarke and Palmer traded clutch hits to end the game.
Skrenchuk did not like seeing his team commit five errors, but he was proud of his team’s poise in the batter’s box.
“We talk all the time about staying even-keeled,” he said. “You’re going to have really good moments and you’re going to have tough moments because this game is really hard. But just staying even-keeled, staying consistent, understanding you’re going to have another opportunity to do something positive to help our team win.”
Severna Park varsity baseball head coach Eric Milton attributed the loss to walks surrendered and his team’s bats going cold at inopportune times.
“We’ve battled back before, but we should never have been in that position with eight walks and two hit-by-pitches, so we gave them 10 runners,” he said.
The “beauty of baseball” is that the Falcons have a chance to rebound Thursday against South River and, maybe later this season, against Broadneck if both teams continue to win games.
“I would say probably the two best teams in the county played each other today and they came out on top,” Milton said.
Broadneck hopes to keep their winning streak alive with a win over Old Mill on Thursday.
“We have a lot of talented kids and they’re just learning how to play at the varsity level and they’re doing a good job,” Skrenchuk said. “Each game that we come out here, they build a little more confidence every day.”