By Coleman Hamstead
DUNDALK, MD – CCBC Dundalk could not hold the lead in either game of a double header on Saturday against Garrett College, giving up game-winners in the last inning of both games before a home crowd.
In both games, the Lakers came back from a deficit and took a one run lead in the top of the seventh and held on for the win.
The first game was all Lions for the first six innings, as starting pitcher Caleb Armour (Carver) tossed a clean slate and Dundalk led 2-0 going into the top of the final frame.
Reliever Shawn Dignazio (Kenwood) came in to close the game for the Lions, but a blown save allowed the Lakers to take a 3-2 lead.
The comeback effort was sparked by a two-run single from the Lakers' Scott Shaw (Nova).
Game two was back and forth with multiple lead changes.
The game was tied 3-3 going into the seventh inning when a one out double by Slater Frith (Sherwood Secondary) put the Lakers (11-14, 2-4 Maryland JUCO) in scoring position.
Jestin Cosner (Moorefield) came in as a pinch runner for Frith and scored when a throw by Lions' catcher Kevin Johnson (Bishop McDevitt) went errant attempting to catch him stealing third.
The Lions (8-18-1, 4-8-1 Maryland JUCO) had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh after a double by Justin Mack (Eastern Tech) put runners on second and third with one out.
Luck was not on the Lions' side as a failed suicide squeeze attempt by Parker Lenivy (Hereford) left the runner on third stranded between bases and he was tagged for the second out.
Lenivy then struck out and the Lakers won 4-3.
Game One Recap:
Neither team could get much going early with both starting pitchers showing poise and control on the mound.
An RBI ground out by Jamie Naill Jr. (Winters Mill) in the bottom of the third put the Lions up 1-0.
Michael Mowery (Bishop McDevitt) would score later in the third on a passed ball to put the Lions up 2-0.
The rest of the game was scoreless up until the seventh inning, thanks to both Armour and the Lions defense.
The Lions defense prevented runs from scoring on multiple occasions, including a double play in the second when Mowery caught a fly ball in right field and threw out the runner on third tagging up to go home.
Another gem came in the top of the fourth when center fielder Corey Pea (St. Frances Academy) made a diving catch to end the inning and prevent a run.
In the top of the seventh, Dignazio came in to close the game for the Lions, but the Lakers greeted him with three straight hits, including Shaw's the two-RBI single that tied the game at two.
With no outs, the Lakers laid down two bunt singles to load the bases.
After an infield pop-up for the first out, a sacrifice fly from Aaron Shinn (C.D. Hilton) gave the Lakers their first lead of the game 3-2.
With two outs and runners on first and third, Dignazio struck out the next batter after being down 3-0 in the count to stop the bleeding.
The Lions were unable to get anything going in the home half of the seventh and the Lakers came away with the first game of the twin bill.
Game Two Recap:
The second game was a similar story, as the Lions got their first run in the bottom of the third off an RBI single from John Staab (Loyola Blakefield) to go up 1-0.
The Lakers responded in the top of the fourth when Tyler Ray (Coral Springs) picked up an RBI on a ground ball double play with runners on first and third and no outs to tie it at one.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pea singled up the middle for an RBI single to put the Lions back on top.
The Lakers answered again, this time in the top of the fifth on an RBI triple from Doug Pollock (Gateway) that tied the game at two. An RBI single by Shaw on the next at-bat gave the Lakers the lead 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kaliel Barmer (Edgewood) was hit by a pitch and reached third shortly after on a bad pickoff attempt from Lakers relief pitcher Michael Penney (Madison Comprehensive).
Barmer would score on a passed ball, tying the game at three.
In the top of the seventh, Frith doubled with one out and Cosner would later score on Johnson's throwing error.
The Lions bid for a comeback win fell short in the bottom of the seventh and the Lakers held on for a 4-3 win.
The losses are especially tough to swallow for the Lions, as they had won or tied four out of their last six games coming into Saturday.
They will look to end a three-game skid when they hit the road against conference rival Anne Arundel Community College on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.
The Riverhawks are 13-15 this season (7-6 Maryland JUCO) and will look to take the season series, having defeated the Lions 10-3 on March 7.