News Story

3/29/11
In clash of Titans, Cadets come back to win 8-6.

WCAC baseball: Top-ranked St. John’s beats fourth-ranked Good Counsel

By Josh Barr, Tuesday, March 29, 8:46 PM

As top-ranked St. John’s headed toward its dugout after six innings, trailing by two runs, Coach Mark Gibbs had a short, but hopeful, message for the Cadets’ standout shortstop Nick Howard, who was batting second in the top of the seventh.

“His exact words were, ‘After you hit a double, we’re going to pinch-run for you and go get your stuff’ ” to pitch the bottom of the seventh if St. John’s could prolong the game, Howard said.

Howard, who committed to play for Virginia before his junior year, did a little bit better. His two-run home run over the left field fence tied the score Wednesday and, after St. John’s scored twice more, Howard struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh as the visiting Cadets beat fourth-ranked Good Counsel, 8-6, in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game in Olney.

“I was just looking to center the ball up and drive something, home runs are an accident,” Howard said after hitting his first homer of the season. “I was just trying to hit a line drive right back up the middle.”

It was quite a finish to a game dominated by home runs.

Good Counsel (7-2, 4-1), which had won its previous seven games, took a 4-0 lead in the third inning on a three-run homer by T.J. Brockway and a solo homer by Carter Bidwick.

Joe Camp hit a two-run homer in the top of the fourth for St. John’s (8-1, 2-0), the first runs surrendered this season by Good Counsel junior lefty Kevin Doherty, who also has committed to Virginia. Kyle Hamby answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

It was still 6-4 entering the seventh, when Nate Meiners led off with a single. Howard then drove an off-speed pitch for a no-doubt, game-tying home run.

“I still can’t believe that just happened,” said Howard, who was the winning pitcher in his previous two pitching outings, both starts. “I saw my teammates at home plate and couldn’t help but smile and get pumped up.”

Said Gibbs: “I don’t expect him to do any more than he can, but you expect him to do something big.”

Justin Korenblatt followed with a single, then moved to third on Camp’s picture-perfect hit-and-run single. On a delayed double steal, Korenblatt jogged home with the go-ahead run when an errant throw sailed into center field.