Old Mill's No. 5-ranked baseball team may have seen its playoff chances disappear, and No. 14 Chesapeake helped solidify its prospects by beating the host Patriots, 5-4, yesterday.
The contest was a continuation of a game that started Wednesday but was postponed in the second inning because of rain. The Cougars improved to 12-2, and the Patriots fell to 8-5.
Those five losses are what loom large in Old Mill's future, and Patriots coach Mel Montgomery admits it has put his team in a serious hole.
"It's going to be hard for us to come back," said Montgomery. "We've been here before but it looks like we're going to need some other teams to lose."
Things were much brighter on the Chesapeake side of the field. The Cougars had Jason White to thank. The pitcher/first baseman hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning that gave the visitors a 5-3 lead.
Chesapeake had tied the score earlier in the inning when Patriots pitcher Lee Haney balked with runners on first and third and White at the plate. The balk may have rattled Haney because he served up a pitch that White drilled deep over the left-field fence.
"I was just looking for a pitch to hit because we had a runner on second," White said. "He threw me a fastball that was up a little and I just got a good rip at it."
Old Mill managed to get a run across in the sixth but also wasted a chance to get more when it left two runners on with only one out. The Patriots also had runners on first and third with two outs in the seventh but relief pitcher Chris Ryder got Patriots designated hitter Don Yost to fly out.
Montgomery said that situational hitting has been a problem for his team in a number of games this season.
"We aren't executing at all with men on base," he said. "We've got guys swinging at bad pitches and not having good at-bats. Then they're taking those at-bats on the field."
Chesapeake was not a team to watch when the baseball season started, but coach Jim Simms' team quietly has turned itself into a contender. Simms says it has been a team effort.
"It seems like every game, we can throw the names of our starting lineup in a hat, pull one out, and that's the guy who is going to come through for us," Simms said.
"Last week we had three guys go down with injuries but the new guys have played great. This team plays together and they never give up. They are just a joy to coach."