SPRINGDALE – Eleanor Roosevelt High School brought out their bats to capture the Prince George’s Baseball County Championships with a destructive 17-7 victory of Gwynn Park on May 7.
“I’m really happy. These are moments these guys will remember,” said Roosevelt Head Coach Andrew Capece, “In a big game like this I’m really happy when they step up and have their moment. A bunch of guys did really well, so it’s great for them.”
Junior Todd Murphy was spectacular on the mound as he allowed no hits and struck out four batters out in three innings of work. He was named the game’s winning pitcher.
“My catcher, Derek (Ohringer), probably the best catcher ever I had,” Murphy said, “He called some great pitches and all I can do is execute on them. Happy with my performance but I can’t take that into the next game.”
Murphy quickly took down Gwynn Park’s first set of hitters in the first inning. Roosevelt came up to bat and provided the run support that their pitcher needed the most. Gwynn Park pitcher Devin Gilliam walked six batters, gave up five hits, and allowed 11 runs in the first inning.
To cap off his outing, junior Cejay Hopkins cracked a hit for a grand slam at the bottom of the first inning, scoring four runs for the Raiders. The deflating hit and ensuing celebration by the Raiders were enough for Yellow Jackets Head Coach John Chestnut to pull Gilliam out for sophomore Solomon Walker.
“It felt great. We came out the first inning we were banging, just constantly getting hits came out with a home run first inning, just did great.’ Hopkins said. “I’ve been working for this the whole time and to do it in a championship feels great.”
“The first inning cost us the game,” Chestnut said, “Took us a little while to get settled down pitching. You can’t win making errors, like I told them before the game started whoever makes the most errors loses the game, and we won in that category. So we just gotta suck it up and keep going forward.”
Murphy struck out two more batters and completed a groundout play when Gwynn Park senior Zackary King made contact to end the second inning. Junior Wesley Shoemaker took over at the top of the fourth inning.
The pitching change allowed Gwynn Park to gain ground offensively. First, freshman Jeremy Weekes connected with his first of two hits as he connected with a triple that sent sophomore Jordan Arbnot home for a Yellow Jackets run. Freshman Ryan Arcy subsequently hit a single to that allowed Weeks to score and make the score 17-2. Shoemaker responded with a strikeout to close the inning.
Five more runs were scored on Shoemaker as he gave up three walks, and four hits. Arbnot drove King and junior Bryan Ray in around the bases with an RBI single. Weekes followed up with a hit that brought in sophomore Devin Gilliam, reducing the deficit to 12.
Sophomore Jelan Harwell struck more damage with a double that flew deep to right field. Junior Diego Araiza appeared to catch the ball but failed to secure the ball. Weekes took advantage and ran home off the error. A wild pitch from Shoemaker also allowed Harwell to slide home for Gwynn Park’s seven-run of the game.
However, Roosevelt’s early scoring was enough to shorten the game to five innings, with Shoemaker ending the inning with a strikeout and a groundout. Roosevelt will be looking to replicate their success in the state playoffs following their first-round bye.
“We were really locked in coming into this first inning,” Murphy said, “We did what we seek to do every game, we just poured buckets.”
Meanwhile, during the County Softball Championships going on at the same time, Bowie High School captured the title with 12-0 win over Oxon Hill. The winning pitcher was freshman Taylor Ivey, who put together an eight-strikeout performance during her shutout victory.