Something that differentiates baseball from most other team sports is that there’s no clock.
That is, unless there’s rain in the forecast.
Glenelg Country School hosted Severn Tuesday afternoon, and both teams knew throughout that the approaching thunderstorm would likely cut the game short. So when Dragons shortstop Brian Hammond came up to the plate in the fifth inning with the chance to give Glenelg Country the lead, he knew Mother Nature’s clock was ticking.
Hammond laced an RBI single to right field to give GCS the lead and the 1-0 MIAA B Conference triumph in five innings after the game was called due to rain.
“That was in the back of my mind, but I was just trying to focus on doing my job,” said Hammond. “With a runner on second, I knew that right side would be open because the second baseman was holding him. The opportunity to go the other way was there, and I took it.”
Glenelg Country coach Chris Garber said Hammond “competes” at the plate and that it showed in his last at-bat.
“He’s a really talented player,” Garber said. “He waited for his pitch, and he took it the other way. Brian really came through there with the big hit to get it done.”
Senior Marcus Arterburn was the winning pitcher on Glenelg Country’s Senior Day, striking out five and allowing only two hits in five shutout innings. Arterburn, who is one of three seniors along with David Miller and Tommy Berbert, said they’re just grateful to have a season.
“We’re just happy to be able to play,” Arterburn said. “With missing last year, we missed out on a lot of opportunities to grow as a team. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the season and the playoffs.”
While Arterburn was impressive for GCS (7-1 MIAA B, 8-1 overall), Severn’s Gavin Schut matched him pitch for pitch. Schut, a junior, kept the Dragons off balance all day with his fastball placement and soft off-speed pitches.
The righty didn’t allow a hit in the first 3 ⅓ innings. Even once Glenelg Country got its first hit, the runner was caught stealing, and Schut faced the minimum amount of batters through four frames.
Schut ended the contest with one earned run, two strikeouts and no walks in five innings.
“Their strategy was to throw a light-throwing pitcher against us and credit to him, he threw strikes,” Garber said. “And fortunately for them too he had a big strike zone to work with, and they played good defense behind him. Their strategy worked until we were able to score that last inning.”
Severn (3-6, 3-8) had a runner get into scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings but couldn’t get the clutch hit to drive them home. Arterburn came up with timely punchouts in the second and fourth innings, and the Admirals ran themselves out of their potential scoring chance in the fifth.
“Marcus has been one of our aces that we’ve been able to rely on,” Garber said. “He’s been good all season. He’s around the plate, and he’s able to change his speeds. They had a couple guys on early, and he was able to keep his composure and get the job done.”
In Hammond’s first at-bat in the second inning, the junior scorched a line drive to right field that Severn’s Ben Campion caught on a dive. When he came up with one out and a runner in scoring position, he trusted his hands and went the other way again for the game-winning single.
“With two strikes, I just had to put something in play,” Hammond said. “The right side was open, and he threw an outside pitch. It all lined up the way that taking the ball the other way would have to work out, so I took advantage of that.”
GCS has three more regular season games, including two against B Conference foes, before the MIAA tournament, which begins May 13 and ends May 25. The Dragons are in third place right now, behind St. Paul’s and Boys’ Latin.
All 11 teams make the double-elimination tournament. The top five teams receive a first-round bye, while the top three seeds get a double bye.
Glenelg Country travels to Gerstell Thursday, while Severn’s next game is its regular season finale against Friends at Joe Cannon Stadium.