May 20, 2018
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  • In just their second season playing in the MIAA, the Eagles won the program's first championship on May 15, coming from a run down to win 3-2 in extra innings over Concordia Prep.
    Courtesy photo
    In just their second season playing in the MIAA, the Eagles won the program's first championship on May 15, coming from a run down to win 3-2 in extra innings over Concordia Prep.

Indian Creek Baseball Wins MIAA C Conference Championship

Colin Murphy
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May 16, 2018

It took a little over two years for the Indian Creek baseball program to go from a scrimmage-only club team to league debutants to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champions.

The Eagles earned that title on May 15 by closing out a 3-2 victory in extra innings over Concordia Prep in the MIAA C Conference championship game played at McDonogh School in Owings Mills.

Freshman lefthander Travis Garnett pitched seven innings and allowed only two hits and one earned run while striking out nine on 97 pitches to earn the victory; fellow freshman Evan Selmer switched from catcher to pitcher to close the game and earn the save; and senior Brandon Harris came up with a go-ahead RBI base hit in the top of the eighth that put Indian Creek on course to its first baseball championship.

Eagles third-year coach Matt Selmer expressed pride in his team, which combined a talented young core, veteran leadership and a team-first mindset to finish the season as champions.

“Our goal this year was to win this. We knew we could compete and we had an opportunity to win the championship,” said Selmer, who oversaw the Eagles' transition from club team in 2016 to their first MIAA season last spring. “Getting there would have been an accomplishment this year, because most of our guys are young, but what I’m proud of them for is just responding well. All year they competed and constantly got better.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Indian Creek baseball vs. Concordia Prep, MIAA C championship, 5.14.18

Indian Creek had reached the final with a 4-3 walk-off win over Saints Peter & Paul in the league semifinal on May 9. In that matchup, the Eagles showed resiliency after surrendering a 3-1 lead by getting the winning run in the bottom of the seventh when Garnett scored on a wild pitch after walking and advancing to third on a single by Evan Selmer.

By defeating Concordia in the final, the Eagles avenged two regular-season losses to the Saints and finished the season 11-2 overall, dealing the Saints (12-4) their only conference loss of the year.

In the championship, the Eagles overcame an early 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead with a two-run fourth inning. Sophomore center fielder Maurice Elder led off the inning with a single and came around to score on an opposite-field double by Selmer, beating a throw home to tie the game at 1-1. Senior Alex Petrocelli followed with a bloop single to the shallow outfield that scored Selmer and gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

Concordia came back with a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 2-2, a score that Indian Creek preserved over the next three innings with some well-executed defense. Sophomore second baseman Jordan Cann made a leaping grab for an out in the fifth inning, and Garnett followed with a strikeout to close the frame. In the sixth, Garnett walked the leadoff hitter, but he picked the runner off first before getting the next batter on a called third strike. After the third batter walked and stole second, Garnett again wielded a pickoff move to catch him in a run down between second and third and snuff out the threat. Garnett pitched a one-two-three seventh to push the game to extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, sophomore John Warner hit an 0-2 pitch for a double to right center, giving the Eagles a runner in scoring position with two outs.

Harris stepped to the plate and calmly smacked the first pitch for an opposite-field, line-drive single to right, and Warner beat the throw home by sliding across the plate to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead and send the Indian Creek bench and fans into a frenzied celebration.

“It was really exciting,” said Harris. “Coach told me to drive it, and he had a lot of confidence in me, and that helped me to have the power to go up and do that. I fulfilled my role in that moment, and I’m glad it was me.”

Selmer took the mound in the bottom of the eighth to close the game and got two strikes on the leadoff batter before the game was suspended, then postponed, due to lightning.

Both teams returned to finish out the game the following day. Selmer got the first batter to ground toward first, and he covered first base for a bang-bang 3-1 putout. He got the second out on a line drive that Garnett, who had switched to first base, used his 6-foot-3-inch frame to reach up and snare.

Selmer struck out the next batter for the final out, sparking a celebratory dog pile on the pitcher’s mound.

Just a freshman, Garnett said he wasn’t shy to the moment of starting the championship game.

“I just tried to get ahead of the batters and throw first-pitch strikes,” said Garnett. “Coach Matt was able to put me in a position to succeed by working with me over the last couple of years on my mechanics, so I was just trying to repeat my delivery, and I was successful … I was just happy we were able to do it for the seniors and send them out on a good note, and hopefully we’ll be back in the same situation next year.”

Evan Selmer said the team was confident it could come from behind to win against a team that had already beaten them twice this year.

“We just all went up there with an approach to get the first-pitch fastball, and if we didn’t get it just battle our way back into the count,” said Selmer. “Once you get your pitch, drive it.”

With much of the team’s core very young, the Eagles’ window to compete for championships appears to be wide open. Selmer, Garnett and versatile fielder and hitter Alex Seidleck are freshmen; Warner, Elder, Cann and Parker Harris, the team’s regular catcher who missed the playoffs with a broken finger, are all sophomores. The Eagles are tracking toward promotion to the MIAA B Conference sooner rather than later.

Brandon Harris said the group bonded this year and is poised to continue the program’s success.

“I’m super proud of the team,” said Harris. “We’re like a family. We’ve all bonded so well over the season. We enjoy being around each other, not just on the field but in school, at lunch, we all hang out together. It’s a great group of guys to be around … I’m super excited to see the progress the team’s going to make over the next couple years, and really confident we’re going to get some more championships along the way.”

Coach Selmer noted that the high academic standards at Indian Creek were major selling points for the current group of underclassmen who decided to become Eagles, and he stressed the total team cohesion and positive spirit of the group that helped power them to the title.

“I’m just thrilled. This was really a team effort by the guys,” said Selmer. “I am so proud of the kids. They stuck together and picked each other up. It was a team win. Nobody’s negative about lack of playing time. It’s the team as a whole, as a unit. Whether they’re on the field or not, the guys have just been fantastic.”

The 2018 MIAA C Conference champion Indian Creek baseball players are Travis Garnett, Evan Selmer, Brandon Harris, Maurice Elder, Alex Petrocelli, Jordan Cann, John Warner, Alex Seidleck, Parker Harris, Collin Brown, Colin Abbott, Matt Hawes, Mike Mercer, Cameron Mona, Joey Sisle and Andy Weinberg. They are coached by Matt Selmer and assistant coaches Chuck Goetz, John Schrum and Will Grebenstein.

PHOTO GALLERY: Indian Creek baseball vs. Concordia Prep, MIAA C championship, 5.14.18


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