KEYSER, W.Va. — Second-seeded Potomac State College clubbed No. 3 Hagerstown Community College, 11-1, to reach the Eastern District Tournament as well as the championship round of the NJCAA Division I Region XX baseball tournament, but fell victim to 11 unanswered runs by top-seeded Harford Community College, 15-8, as the Fighting Owls won the title Monday at Golden Park.
Harford (46-7) will host the Eastern District event beginning Friday in Bel Air. The four-team field will include Potomac State (31-11) and the Region X and XV champions.
Spencer Harbert led the Owls offense with a double and two singles to knock in five runs. Spencer Smith hit a home run and knocked in three runs. Reyce Curnane hit a three-run homer as well, and Thomas Hojnacki knocked in two runs.
Pete Costigan hit a single and a home run and knocked in three runs for the Catamounts, Joel Spishock doubled and singled to knock in two, and Cole Miller and Austin Chavis had two hits apiece, with Chavis doubling and scoring three times.
Potomac State jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as Austin Martin was hit by a pitch to start the game but was forced at second when Hayden Almond reached on a fielder’s choice.
Almond went to second on a throwing error before Chavis walked. A passed ball moved both runners up a base before Spishock singled to right to score Almond with Chavis moving to third. Dale Houser hit a sacrifice fly to right to score to score Chavis and the Catamounts had a 2-0 lead on a pair of unearned runs.
Harford answered with a single run in the bottom half as Matthew Shilling and Harbert reached on two-out singles. Both runners moved up on the throw on Harbert’s single before Shilling scored on an error by the right fielder.
After Potomac State left a runner in the top of the second, Harford took the lead with a three-run bottom half. Zack Smith reached on a one-out fielder’s choice, stole second and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. Nolan Charlton then walked and stole second before Curnane hit a three-run home run to left field.
Potomac State, however, retook the lead with three runs as Chavis doubled to open the third inning and scored on a double by Spishock.
Houser then singled Spishock to third and a walk to Costigan loaded the bases. Spishock scored and Houser went to third on a fielder’s choice double play, before Foster Conis singled to center to score Houser and give the Catamounts the lead.
In the top of the fourth, Almond and Chavis opened with singles and moved up on a bunt by Spishock. After Emir Garrett entered to pitch for Harford, he got the second out on an infield fly, but then yielded a three-run homer by Costigan to increase PSC’s lead to 8-4.
Harford opened the bottom of the fourth by loading the bases with Hojnacki doubling, Charlton being hit by a pitch. and Curnane drawing a walk. Nathan Kerr, in the game since the third, got the first out on an infield fly and struck out Shilling, but Harbert doubled to center to score two and make it a one-run game. Jimmy Nixon struck out to end the inning.
Harford regained and extended the lead with a six-run bottom of the fifth. Ethan Kiple and Smith opened with back-to-back singles and Hojnacki doubled to left to make it 9-8. Charlton followed with a single to put Hojnacki on third and with one out, Spencer Smith singled to left to score Hojnacki to make it 10-8 and put Charlton at second.
Shilling then walked to load the bases before Harbert singled to knock in two and put Shilling at third, and after Nixon walked the bases were loaded again. Shilling scored on a wild pitch before the Catamounts got out of the inning with a strikeout and a ground ball.
The Fighting Owls tacked on two more in the sixth when Spencer Smith hit a two-run homer.
Potomac State 11
The Catamounts earned the invite to the Eastern District tournament in the opener thanks to a big day at the plate by Chavis and a four-run third and six-run sixth that gave PSC the victory on the 10-run rule.
Chavis was 2 for 4 at the plate with a home run, a single and three runs batted in. Costigan was 3 for 4 with two RBI and Cole Miller doubled home two runs.
Almond went 3 for 4, scoring a run and knocking in a run. Spishock singled, scored twice and knocked in one and Juwaun Weaver singled and scored three times as the Catamounts finished the game with 13 hits.
Colt Webb went all six innings for Potomac State and gave up two hits and one run, striking out 12 and not walking a batter.
Hagerstown’s Josh Menders hit a home run for the Hawks’ only run. Hagerstown finished the season with a 37-18 record.