For five innings, the Hagerstown Tigers were scoreless and held to a single hit by the Shenandoah Raiders, the third ranked team in the state, in the sectional championship game played at Northeastern High School on Memorial Day.
The Raiders defeated the Tigers 10-4 in April, and with flame thrower and Louisville commit Collin Osenbaugh on the mound keeping the Tiger batters in check, they looked primed to do it again.
But there was a major difference between the championship game and the regular season game, and his name is Quaid Mull. The Tiger senior, a Bethel University commit, did not pitch against the Raiders in April. In the championship game he turned in a masterful performance to allow the Tigers to stay close until they could get a scoring opportunity.
With Osenbaugh and Mull locked up in a pitching duel, runs were hard to come by. The Raiders put a single run on the scoreboard in the second inning. Gabe Lowder reached base on an error and later came around to score when freshman Jarrett Helman, the number nine hitter, smacked a two out triple.
There was no additional scoring by either team, entering the top of the sixth inning the Raiders were still clinging to a 1-0 lead. The Tigers, who had been patient at the plate and confident that they would have a chance to get back in the game, finally found a chink in Osenbaugh’s armor. Osenbaugh appeared to tire, issuing back-to-back walks to Gavin Walter and Ben Williams to open the sixth inning. The Raiders made a pitching change bringing in veteran Dylan McDaniel. McDaniel entered the game with a minuscule 0.88 earned run average.
Mull was the first batter McDaniel faced. Mull laid down a picture-perfect bunt that loaded the bases with no outs. McDaniel struck out the next batter, but when Tiger clean-up hitter Wyatt Burris stepped to the plate the momentum of the game changed. The first pitch to Burris was a strike. Burris hit the second pitch he saw into the gap in center field to drive in Walter and Williams and give the Tigers a lead they would never surrender.
Mull did not allow a baserunner in the bottom of the sixth inning. Gavin Wilson slapped a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh, before Aiden Grover caught a fly ball from Drew Fredenburg to end the game.
Mull said that he was confident that the Tiger defense would make the plays to keep them in the game until they could score some runs. ” This win marks a huge goal off our to-do list,” Mull said. “This game was my last opportunity to win a sectional. This is also Coach Hale’s first sectional title. I sent him a text last night and said – ‘coach let’s go win a sectional tomorrow’. It is a great feeling. This team has worked hard and today that hard work paid off.”
Wyatt Burris delivered the game winning hit. “There are going to be days when you only have 1 or 2 hits until the fifth inning,” Burris said. “It is just about being patient, keeping the energy level up in the dugout, and taking advantage of late game opportunities. Quaid (Mull) pitched a great game against a very good team. We are looking forward to the regional.”
Tiger head coach Jay Hale said getting the first two batters on base in the sixth inning gave his team the chance they had been waiting for. “When they walked Gavin (Walter) to open the sixth inning I told Ben (Williams) to make sure not to swing at anything out of the strike zone.” Hale said. “We were going to bunt strikes and lay off balls to keep pressure on their pitcher. When (Quaid) Mull loaded the bases with a perfect bunt we were in business. When Wyatt Burris came to the plate with the bases loaded, we had no doubt that he would deliver, and he did. The team played great, and Quaid pitched a great game today.”
Hagerstown will play Heritage Christian in the Park Tudor regional on Saturday, June 3. The game time will be announced later this week.
Hagerstown (23-7) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Shenandoah (22-4) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Shenandoah hits: Fredenburg, Helman, Wilson (2), Hagerstown hits: Burris, Ervin, Mull. Winning pitcher Mull, losing pitcher Osenbaugh.
A version of this article appeared in the June 7 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.