Down four runs Friday afternoon, Archbishop Curley’s surge to the top of the MIAA A Conference baseball standings appeared to hit a snag. The Friars responded and their postseason hopes got a major boost.
No. 9 Archbishop Curley rallied for a 14-9 decision over fifth-ranked Loyola Blakefield at Veterans Park in Towson. Harry Middlebrooks was 4-of-5 with two RBI for the Friars while Austin Sealing and John Petryszak each finished 2-for-4 and combined for three RBI.
Curley rebounded in the middle innings, scoring its 14 runs, to improve 12-7 overall and 6-3 in MIAA A play. The Friars are tied for first with reigning champ and top-ranked Archbishop Spalding (6-3), which defeated No. 2 John Carroll, 7-0, Friday as eight teams are in play for six spots in next month’s double elimination tournament.
“Going into the week, we had three tough conference games, which is pretty taxing on our pitching staff, and to come out 3-0 this week was huge,” Friars coach Joe Gaeta said. “I think senior leadership prevailed, some of our talent came to the forefront and offensively we produced when we had to.”
The Friars scored six runs in the fourth inning to wipe a 4-0 deficit. Carson Eddy’s 2-run double and Petryszak’s lead RBI single highlighted the rally that saw 11 Curley batters come to the plate.
Curley added three more runs in the fifth with Blake Dean’s fly out scoring Ryan Parks, and bases loaded walks to Petryszak and Derek Poole. Middlebrooks 2-run double and run scoring hits from Tony Scott (double) and Sealing showcased a five-run sixth.
The Friars had just two runs in a 6-2 home loss to the Dons last late month.
“They (Loyola) got us the first time, so all of us were talking about getting them back today,” said Middlebrooks, a senior first baseman. “Once we got a little bit of momentum, that was it. That was all we needed.”
The Dons (9-4, 5-4 MIAA A) got up 2-0 in the first on senior Wyatt Mummert’s 2-run single to center, scoring Gavin Pope and Zach Stolze. Joseph Benckni’s led off the second with a triple and scored on Brett Hanson’s groundout, and Joseph Nottingham’s RBI single in the fourth had the hosts in control, 4-0.
Then, things fell apart. Curley racked out 10 hits between the fourth and sixth innings while the Dons provided an error, 10 walks and two hit batsmen.
Loyola, which got a sixth inning home run from junior Diego Arango, scored four runs on six hits in the seventh before Sealing struck out Pope looking to end it.
“We didn’t play well. That’s just the bottom line,” Loyola coach Mike Kelly, whose team fell a game behind Curley and Spalding in the standings. “You gotta make plays in this league, and when you don’t make them, you’re going to lose… when you make defensive errors, you put more pressure on the pitcher and that affects everything.”
NO. 9 ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 14, NO. 5 LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 9
Curley 000 635 0 14 12 0
Loyola 211 001 4 - 9 15 1
Layhew, Nemec (4), Townsley (6), Sealing (7) and Poole; Seiss, Mummer (4), Delgaudio (4), Connolly (5), Seiss (7) and Houck
2B: Curley - Middlebrooks 2, Scott, Eddy; Loyola - Arango, Hauk, Randazzo, Sennett
3B: Loyola - Benckini
HR: Loyola - Arango