Despite a banner year, RM Rockets fall to QO Cougars in baseball playoffs

20180512_QO_RM_Baseball_10Griffin Snyder of Quince Orchard High School scores to help put the game out of reach against Richard Montgomery. Qunice Orchard advances in the playoffs with an 8-1 win. PHOTO  BY MIKE CLARKGriffin Snyder of the Quince Orchard Cougars scores to help put the game out of reach for the Richard Montgomery Rockets. Quince Orchard advances in the playoffs with an 8-1 win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  GAITHERSBURG — The Richard Montgomery Rockets varsity baseball team’s 2018 campaign came to a close Saturday against the Quince Orchard Cougars.

Quince Orchard earned an 8-1 win over the visiting Rockets to advance to the section final on Tuesday. The Cougars hosted Clarksburg who earned a 2-1 victory over Wootton.

Meanwhile, the Rockets concluded their best season in years and helped move the program in the right direction.

Despite four consecutive losses to start the season, the Rockets picked up some steam early on.

“It was a season of many first in a long time,” Richard Montgomery head coach Kyle Culver posted on Twitter. “First playoff win in over a decade, winningest season in a very long time. It was honestly the best kids I have had the privilege of coaching in a long time and love every one of them.”

Culver spent seven years coaching junior varsity baseball at Northwest before taking the helm at Richard Montgomery this season.

“It was a year of ups and downs – that’s for sure,” said Culver. “Overall it was an incredible experience.”

Richard Montgomery earned wins over Northwood, Springbrook, Watkins Mill, Paint Branch and Einstein. In fact, the Rockets defeated Northwood twice by a combined score of 32-3.

“It was an incredible year,” said Culver. “We defied a lot of expectations.”

The 2018 campaign marked the first time Richard Montgomery had earned a playoff win since 1996 and the most wins for the baseball program in 11 years according to Culver.

The Rockets beat Gaithersburg 10-7 to advance to the section semifinal matchup against a talented Quince Orchard team.

The win over Gaithersburg was significant for the Richard Montgomery baseball program. The Rockets were led by Andrew Sturgess, Alec Santiago and Alex Caprara who guided the team to an overall 6-12 record.

Sturgess, a senior, pitched a no-hitter in Richard Montgomery’s 2-0 win over Paint Branch during the regular season.

“He was flat out my ace,” Culver said about Sturgess.

Culver recalled the highlight of the season when freshman pitcher Brian Rose was called up to varsity in the postseason win over Gaithersburg.

“He came in and got the save,” said Culver. “He closed the game out for us.”

Culver recalled the final inning when Rose threw pitches to Caprara, a senior catcher. The win was highlighted by Rose’s strikeout at the end of the contest.

“It was one of the coolest moments of the year when he got the strikeout to end the game,” said Culver.

Although Richard Montgomery is losing a group of talented seniors to graduation, the program is expected to return several talented student-athletes including Santiago and Rose along with Leo Veras and Ethan Kwun.

The future is bright for Richard Montgomery baseball and the head coach expects the program to compete for a county championship next season.

“Our mantra is family,” said Culver. “Family is something we stressed and I think the kids really bought into it.”



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