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Spartanburg ninth inning walk-off ends Catamounts season

Cole Miller had a hit during Potomac State's loss to Spartanburg Methodist on Saturday. File photo by Raymond Burner
Cole Miller had a hit during Potomac State's loss to Spartanburg Methodist on Saturday. File photo by Raymond Burner

BEL AIR, MD — John Miller hit a solo home run, his second of the day, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send Spartanburg Methodist to a 7-6 walk-off win over Potomac State, eliminating the Catamounts from the Eastern District Tournament Saturday evening.

Spartanburg Methodist, the No. 2 seed, overcame an early 5-0 deficit, improved to 33-17 and will play fourth-seeded Monroe College (31-17) of New York in today’s championship game. Third-seeded Potomac State, which had beaten Spartanburg 10-5 in a first-round game on Friday, finished the season with a 32-13 record.

Three two-out runs proved the difference in the end, as the Pioneers tied it 6-6 in with two runs in the eighth. Then, after reliever Devin DiNicola retired the first two batters in the ninth, Miller homered to left.

Miller finished 3 for 5 with two home runs, a double, two runs and two RBIs. Nick Hoffman added a double and single for the Pioneers.

Potomac State made the most of only four hits and led 5-0 after 2 1/2 innings.

In the first, Austin Martin led off with a double and scored on a triple by Hayden Almond, who came home on a Joel Spishock groundout for an early 2-0 lead. Foster Conis singled and scored on an error in the second, and Cole Miller’s RBI single in the third made it 5-0.

But the Catamonts went hitless the rest of the way.

Miller’s first homer brought Spartanburg to within 5-2 in the sixth and Bradwin Salmond hit an RBI single and another run scored on a passed ball to make it 5-4 in the seventh. Potomac State scored on a bases-loaded walk to Juwuan Weaver in the top of the eighth, but Spartanburg, with two out after a single and a walk, scored on a passed ball and an infield error to tie it 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth, setting the stage for Miller’s homer in the ninth.

Three Spartanburg pitchers combined on a four-hitter, with seven strikeouts and eight walks. Chandler Brooks was the winner with 4 2/3 innings of hitless relief and four strikeouts. Brett Whiteman pitched 7 1/3 for Potomac State, allowing seven hits and six runs, only two earned. He walked four and struck out seven.

Monroe 6  Potomac State 1

BEL AIR — Brandon Backman fired a two-hitter, fourth-seeded Monroe broke a tie game with five runs in the fourth inning and the fourth-seeded Mustangs defeated third-seeded Potomac State earlier in the day.

The win gave Monroe (31-17) a spot in Sunday’s championship game. Sunday’s winner earns a berth in the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Backman allowed only a double to Joel Spishock and a single to Dale Houser, which were back-to-back hits in the fourth inning, in a nine-inning two-hitter. He gave up one run, which was unearned, walked seven and struck out five.

Monroe took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Gustavo Gonzalez.

Potomac State tied it in the top of the fourth when Spishock doubled, moved to third on a single by Houser and scored on a passed ball.

But it didn’t remain tied for long as the Mustangs scored five times in the bottom of the inning. After loading the bases with a double and two walks, Gonzalez reached on an infield error that broke the tie and allowed two runs to score. Freddy Rojas followed with a two-run single to make it 5-1, and Joseph Encarnaci’s two-out double made it 6-1.

Gonzalez and Rojas doubled and singled for Monroe, which made the most of eight hits.

Colt Webb took the loss, allowing six hits and six runs, four earned, in six innings. He walked six and struck out six.

Harford (46-9), the top seed and tournament host, lost to Monroe 14-2 on Friday and was eliminated by Spartanburg Methodist on Saturday, 8-0.