Jake Butler’s final home at-bat for Calvert Hall will likely be remembered for decades in the long and rich history of its baseball program.
Butler hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Cardinals a breathtaking 4-3 victory over John Carroll in the loser bracket final of the MIAA A Conference double-elimination tournament early Friday evening at Carlo Crispino Stadium in Towson.
The fifth-seeded Cardinals will play defending champ and No. 2 seed Archbishop Spalding in the championship finals, Sunday at 5 p.m. at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans. Calvert Hall will need to beat Spalding, which won its first two tourney decisions, twice.
The Hall is very much in play for a record 12th MIAA A championship, thanks to Butler who sent John Carroll reliever Frank Adamski’s 1-1 offering high over the leftfield fence, sending an overflow crowd into a frenzy.
“He’s the one we wanted up there in that situation, there’s no doubt about that,” said Calvert Hall coach Brooks Kerr.
Butler, a senior shortstop, said he had a hunch Adamski was going to challenge him with a fastball.
“He (Adamski) had just missed with something off-speed and high so I knew I wasn’t going to see that,” said Butler. “I got something I could hit. I knew I caught it well, but not that well.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel through five innings. Calvert Hall starter Peter Bashore held the Patriots in check until the sixth.
Adamski led off with a single, then wound up at third via a passed ball and a walk loading the bases. With Butler in for Bashore, Griffin Shirk fly out to rightfield, scored Adamski. Sophomore Andrew Jourdan added another RBI fly out.
The Patriots manufactured another run in the 7th as freshman Miguel Leon singled, stole second and advanced to third on groundout before scoring on Ethan Ruiz’s sac bunt.
Patriots sophomore Brooks Mueller entered the 7th with a shutout, but was removed for Adamski after a leadoff single to Copenspire and a walk. After a strikeout, Adamski was called for a balk, loading the bases.
Three pitches later, John Carroll’s bid for a second straight finals trip ended in devastation.
“I told them this loss does not define them. How they respond, moving forward and growing as young men will define them. I’m so proud of them,” said John Carroll coach Daron Siler. “They are a heck of a team. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. That’s baseball.”
“I really feel bad for them,” said Kerr. “Truth be told they played better than we did, until that last inning.”
MIAA A BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Loser bracket final
CALVERT HALL 4, JOHN CARROLL 3
John Carroll 000 002 1 - 3 5 0
Calvert Hall 000 000 4 - 4 6 1
Bashore, Butler (6) and Kwiatkowski; Mueller, Adamski (7) and Brooks.
2B: John Carroll - Jourdan
HR: Calvert Hall - Butler