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  • (L-R) Dylan Young, Joe Seidler, Nate Simmons and the Chesapeake pitching staff have been outstanding in helping the team to a 17-3 record.
    Photos by Colin Murphy
    (L-R) Dylan Young, Joe Seidler, Nate Simmons and the Chesapeake pitching staff have been outstanding in helping the team to a 17-3 record.

Chesapeake Boys Clinch Playoff No. 1 Seed

Colin Murphy
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May 17, 2017

Despite a pair of late-season, 3-2 losses to Severna Park — one in the final game of the regular season on May 3 and another in the one-off county championship on May 8 — the Chesapeake baseball team is once again entering the playoffs with confidence high. The Cougars’ deep pitching, excellent defense and small-ball approach to scratching across big runs against quality opposition has served them well, and they enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Section II of the 3A East with a 16-3 overall record.

The top seeding ensures home games through the region final, should the Cougars advance that far.

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake baseball, May 2017

A 2-1 win over Arundel at home on May 1 solidified the Cougars’ top seed in the Section and was representative of the sort of gritty ball Chesapeake plays at this point in the season. Joe Seidler threw 72 pitches in six innings and allowed one run in three innings, and he helped his own cause at the plate. Seidler’s double, a walk by Andrew Revels and squeeze bunts by Mike Cybert and Tommy McNamara gave the Cougars the runs they needed in the first inning, when they took a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Colby Buckheit came on to close the game, and the Chesapeake infielders fielded three tough ground balls — one each by Revels at third base, Dillon Oxyer at shortstop and Ryan Potter at second — to put the game away.

McNamara, Oxyer, Blake Rebstock, Revels, Potter, Cybert, Seidler and Jake Fitzsimmons have all produced offensively, as each has double-digit hits and Fitzsimmons leads the team with a .424 batting average.

On the season, Chesapeake’s pitching has been key. After a rough outing against Severna Park early in the season, Seidler has been excellent since, posting a 1.73 ERA overall in 36.1 innings. Dylan Young has emerged as outstanding starter for the Cougars, posting a .97 ERA and allowing a mere 17 hits on the season in holding batters to a .137 average in 36 innings. Nate Simmons (.48 ERA in 14.2 innings) and Buckheit (.54 ERA in 13 innings) have solidified the staff.

The perfect complement to a pitching staff that throws strikes is a stellar defense, and the Cougars have been excellent behind their pitchers. Oxyer, a senior, has posted a .973 fielding percentage from shortstop. Revels, Potter, Cybert at first base, McNamara at catcher, Rebstock in center field and Young, Fitzsimmons, Jake Hynson, Bobby Quesenberry and Colton Spangler have collectively posted a .957 fielding percentage.

Said Buckheit, “It’s a very fun time to pitch with the team. I’ve got a great defense behind me. I just try to go out there and throw strikes, because I’m confident with them.”

Oxyer said the team has a Chesapeake standard to uphold.

“We take pride in our defense,” he said. “We’re known for small ball, defense and pitching. Defensively, besides working on it every day in practice, it’s in our blood, we love it. It helps the pitchers, and it takes pressure off the bats too. We know when we get up, as long as the pitchers keep throwing strikes and making the plays, it works.”

Chesapeake coach Ken King said that the pitching and defense has allowed the Cougars to use small ball—bunting to move runners and eek out runs in tight contests — effectively.

“[The defense] has given our pitchers the confidence to pitch and throw balls over the plate. It’s baseball; errors are going to happen. It’s high school baseball; errors are going to happen. We’re just trying to minimize those as best as we can, and it’s worked out for us for a long, long time.”

With top playoff seeding secured, Chesapeake is right where it wants to be entering the postseason.

“It’s another step,” said Oxyer. “We have the big goal, but we have a bye and two home [playoff] games, and we’re taking it day by day.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake baseball, May 2017


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