North East High needed late heroics from Luke Keefer for a come-from-behind baseball victory over C. Milton Wright last month. There were no late game rallies in the rematch Wednesday afternoon as Keefer and the Indians moved closer to the UCBAC Chesapeake championship.
No. 15 North East routed the 13th-ranked Mustangs, 15-2, in Cecil County. Keefer, a junior committed to the University of Maryland, went 4-for-4 with three home runs and seven RBI and Evan England drove in five runs. Cole Williams finished 2-for-3 with an RBI for C. Milton Wright.
The Indians (12-1 overall, 9-1 Chesapeake) broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run third before Keefer and England each hit grand slams in a 9-run sixth to end it, via mercy rule. Sophomore Gavin Bolender drove in two runs.
“We have an explosive team, if they’re focused and putting it in playing with authority,” said North East coach Kevin Brown. “Sometimes we get anxious at the plate.”
The Indians won the first meeting, 4-3, as Keefer’s 2-run single in the sixth was the game winner. They scored first Tuesday as England led off with a homer to leftfield.
C. Milton Wright (11-5, 9-2 Chesapeake) answered in the second on Williams’ RBI single, scoring Keith Cochran. Keefer, who went 2-for-4 in the first meeting with C. Milton Wright, hit a 2-run shot in the third, giving North East the lead for good. The Indians added two more in the frame, courtesy of two Mustang errors.
C. Milton Wright trailed 6-2 after Ryan Niedzialkowski’s in the sixth before North East sent 11 batters to the plate, capped with England’s four-bagger to centerfield. The Indians finished with 12 hits Tuesday.
Keefer, pitching for the first time in nearly two weeks, allowed two runs on six hits and struck out six. The junior is one of seven starters back for North East, which lost to eventual state champ Glenelg in the Class 2A state semifinals.
Keefer leads the pitching staff that lost Austin Keefer (Luke’s brother; Cecil College) and Jake Whiteman (Towson University) with junior Ryan James and Seamus Mulinowski, a senior transfer from Bohemia Manor.
Seniors Matt Hopkins (first base) and Mason Newton (second/shortstop) are veteran returnees along with England, Ethan Flaugher (committed to Mount St. Mary’s), James, Colby Barlok and Keefer.
England, Flaughter, Barlok, James, Barlok and Keefer have started since their freshman year.
Brown said North East is hoping to make another deep postseason run. The Indians have road matches against Patterson Mill (Wednesday) and Harford Tech before hosting Fallston and Rising Sun to complete Chesapeake play.
“We haven’t overlooked anyone, and that has been a part of our success,” said Brown. “Be positive, be confident…keep doing what they’re doing.”
NO. 15 NORTH EAST 15, NO. 13 C. MILTON WRIGHT 2
C. Milton Wright 010 001 - 2 6 6
North East 104 109 - 13 12 1
WP: Keefer; LP: Williams
HR: C. Milton Wright - Niedzialkowski; North East - Keefer 3, England 2