Pitchers love insurance runs and Chesapeake's Jeremy Pellegrini made sure he got one yesterday as the No. 15 Cougars (10-7 overall) edged Glen Burnie, 3-2, in Lake Shore.
After giving up a second run, Pellegrini escaped further damage and a bases-loaded jam in the last inning. It was his sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth that gave Chesapeake a 3-1 lead and that run proved to be the winner, keeping his team's 4A East Region playoff hopes alive.
Arundel (15-1) and Old Mill (13-3) have all but sewed up the top two seeds and meet at 3:45 today at Old Mill.
The Glen Burnie loss puts the Gophers (8-8 in games that count) in the precarious position of having to knock off current No. 3 seed Severna Park (11-5) today and No. 2 seed Old Mill tomorrow to have a shot at qualifying.
Chesapeake (9-7 in games that count) has to win its final two over Meade (1-14) and Annapolis (3-12) and hope that North County loses. North County (9-7), a 7-3 winner over Southern yesterday, could nose out Chesapeake by one playoff point if they both finish 11-7.
North County also has Meade and Annapolis in its final two games.
"We just have to keep thinking positive and not lose another game," Pellegrini said after scattering seven hits and stranding 12 Gophers runners. Pellegrini (4-1), who was out a few weeks with a sore elbow, pitched his first complete game in nearly two weeks. The right-hander struck out six, including the last two batters with the bases loaded, walked five and hit one.
He pitched out of trouble by making the Gophers hit his pitch, and his curve ball set up his fast ball well. "It was a gutsy performance by Jeremy, especially in the last inning," Chesapeake coach Jim Simms said.
Pellegrini walked in a run in that inning with one out to make the score 3-2, but struck out Rocky Newton looking and Mike Ackerman swinging to end it.
Glen Burnie's only run before the seventh came in the fourth when Newton reached on his second bunt hit of the game, stole second and third and scored when catcher Luis Falcon threw the ball into left field.
Chesapeake took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a passed ball by catcher Jim Mabe and a double by Matt Michalowicz. The insurance run came in the sixth. Jeff Allison led off with a triple. One out later, Pellegrini lifted a fly to shallow center, and Allison scored what became the winning run.