RICHMOND — The Hagerstown baseball team defeated host Seton Catholic Monday afternoon on John Cate Field at McBride Stadium in Richmond to win the championship of Class A Sectional 56.
The Tigers, now 20-4, will play Pioneer in the first semifinal game of the regional Saturday at Carroll (Flora).
Hagerstown had faced Seton early in the year in the second game of the season and won 14-2.
"The last two games they [Seton] hit the ball real well," Tigers coach Brad Catey said, "so we didn't know what to expect this morning."
Seton started the game off up to bat while Hagerstown took the field with Sam Reagan as its starting pitcher. After Seton junior pitcher Vince Mosey reached base and stole second, the Cardinals were excited about their first inning.
However, the next three players up to bat struck out and the top of the first inning was over.
Two Hagerstown players reached base during the bottom of the first, but Mosey and the Cardinals retired the other three.
Seton Catholic didn't score in the top of the second inning, but the Tigers favored better in their half of the frame.
The Tigers' Trent Weiss and Cameron Purtha reached base in the last of the second. With one out in the inning freshmen Clay Cochran walked up to home plate.
On Mosey's third pitch, Cochran hit the ball into the outfield and Weiss raced home with the game's first run.
Neither Purtha nor Cochran were able to score and Hagerstown settled for a 1-0 lead.
The next four innings sped by fairly quickly as both teams failed to score any runs. Senior pitcher Reagan struck out several Cardinal hitters in those innings and made a valuable play at first base.
On that play in the top of the fourth inning, Reagan ran to first base to cover for junior first baseman Cody Wilson as Wilson ran to retrieve a ground ball hit by a Seton batter Chris Easley. Reagan tagged Easley out at first, barely beating him to the bag.
That play really got the Tigers rolling.
"Every time there's a big game on the line," Catey said, "he [Reagan] steps up and he gets it done for us."
The Cardinals were looking for a better fortune in the top of the sixth inning. But only freshman pitcher Vincent Falcone made it on base and everyone else struck out, so their luck didn't pick up.
Hagerstown was hungry for a run after its performance in the top of the sixth inning. The Tigers still were up by just a single run and were looking for some insurance.
Reagan was the first runner to reach base in the bottom of the sixth inning and junior outfielder Brett Burns came in to run for Reagan at first base.
Senior outfielder Dylan Woolard stepped in and drove the ball down the first base line to land him safely at first base and Burns was safe at second. Drew Pyle then got a hit, but Burns was retired on the bases.
Pyle's hit was not wasted, though, because it put Woolard on second base and freshmen outfielder Mason Hicks came up to bat with Hagerstown hoping for an additional run.
Hicks sent the ball to the outfield and Woolard home after Seton centerfielder Tyson Bray dropped the pop fly, making the score 2-0.
No additional scoring occurred and the teams prepared for the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh with two strike outs and two Cardinals on base, Reagan had a chance to end the game with the fifth batter of the frame, junior third basemen Nick Matthews. Reagan fanned Matthews on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Hagerstown players and coaches ran to the pitcher's mound to pile on top of Reagan after his strike out as the Tigers celebrated their sectional title.
"As long as we've got him (Reagan) for regionals, we'll be good," added Catey when asked about being worried about regionals.