Archbishop Spalding and John Carroll, the area’s top two baseball teams, were in the giving mood Wednesday afternoon. The No. 2 Patriots were a little more, leading to a 2-1 victory for the visiting and top-ranked Cavaliers in Bel Air.

In a rematch of last year’s MIAA A Conference final, Spalding used an error on an attempted inning-ending double play to score both of its runs in the fifth inning while John Carroll gave away a handful of outs through some costly baserunning miscues to allow the Cavaliers to bounce back from Monday’s 3-1 loss to Archbishop Curley.

“It was a very good win,” said Cavaliers coach Joe Palumbo, whose squad improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in MIAA A competition. “I’m not sure we played well, but it was a good win to come on the road against a really good team and bounce back from Monday . . . .

“We gave them their one run and they obviously gave us a couple there with throwing the ball away. I think our infielders did a great job today of always thinking about the next play. Throwing the runner at third by Ethan (McNally) was a big play in that situation. Nate Wines coming in for defense and making me look good by throwing two guys out on the basepaths, so I do appreciate that from Nate. Those were huge plays that obviously got us outs in big situations.”

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After stranding five runners, including four in scoring position, in the second and third innings, the Cavaliers found themselves down 1-0 as the Patriots broke through with a run in the bottom of the third on an infield single by Frank Adamski with runners on second and third.

Adamski’s shot up the middle, hit the mound and skied high in the air, leaving the Spalding infield with no time to make a play at any base. The inning may have produced more runs had John Carroll not been caught stealing twice, including an attempt at home plate to end the inning.

McNally gunned down Matt Bishop at third base for the second out of the inning. He then tagged out Griffin Shirk at the plate as Shirk broke for home as the pitch from Spalding starter Cody Sharman headed to the plate.

“I feel like there were some mistakes that we made that ended up hurting us,” said Patriots coach Darrion Siler, whose squad also had the leadoff batter picked off in the fifth inning and another thrown out at third base in the sixth as he was trying to take the bag during a throw to first base on a ground ball out. “We gave too much away for free, and when you play good baseball teams, they capitalize and take advantage of it. The end result speaks for itself with that.”

John Carroll’s generosity extended to the field in the fifth inning as the Patriots attempted to turn an inning-ending double play but the low relay throw to first base skipped away from Casey Carpenter, allowing Brayden Marrocco and courtesy runner Josh Bowlin to score for the final 2-1 Spalding lead.

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The Cavaliers loaded the bases in the fifth on a single by Marrocco to shallow right field and back-to-back hit batsmen. After Tyler Smith struck out on three straight pitches from Patriots reliever Jack Burton, McNally smacked a ground ball to shortstop with the subsequent throw to second, recording one out before the relay skipped deep into foul territory.

Sharman helped maintain that narrow lead the rest of the way as he concluded an impressive complete-game effort by allowing a run on four hits with four strikeouts.

“All three (pitches) were working for him, which is why he’s so tough,” Palumbo said. “You run out a 5-foot-7 lefty and nobody thinks much of it at the beginning of the game, but then they watch him throw 84-85 miles per hour with a run and a nasty change-up.

“If there’s a nastier change-up in high school baseball, I’m not sure it’s in this country, and his breaking ball’s great, which obviously with their lefty-loaded lineup, it kept them off balance for the day.”

Sharman sat down the first six batters he faced in order and faced the minimum of three batters in five of his seven innings of work to go along with the pickoff in the fifth inning of Dallas Brooks, who opened the inning with a single to center field.

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“First inning, I came out, I was a little bit tight, but as soon as I saw my guys were behind me and everything was moving along smoothly, it all fell into place, and I loosened up,” Sharman said. “I felt like I had all three pitches going. The curveball felt really, really good against the lefties and the change-up just as good against the righties. I felt like I was mixing my pitches really well and just moving it all over the zone and keeping them on their toes.

“There was definitely a little bit of hurt in that dugout from that loss (to Curley). It definitely really feels to come back out here and catch a `W.’”


Spalding 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 2 3 2

John Carroll 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 1 4 1

WP - Cody Sharman. LP - Jack Burton. RBI: Spalding - Ethan McNally. John Carroll - Frank Adamski.

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