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Two Prince George’s powerhouses duel in heated slug fest

DeMatha overpowers Riverdale Baptist

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Photo by Daniel Kucin. Bradley Keith watches his two-run homer clear the fence on Thursday, May 2, 2013, against Riverdale Baptist. DeMatha won 7-5.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Bradley Keith watches his two-run homer clear the fence on Thursday, May 2, 2013, against Riverdale Baptist. DeMatha won 7-5.

Published on: Monday, May 06, 2013

By Daniel Kucin

DeMatha senior pitcher Kevin Fitzmaurice provided the muscle for the Stags against Riverdale Baptist last Thursday at Terrill Field in Upper Marlboro.

He pitched five innings and struck out seven batters to earn his third win of the season. Despite giving up two home runs in the first two innings, Fitzmaurice helped keep his team in the contest until fellow pitcher Bradley Keith stole the show and stole a game between two Prince George’s County powerhouses.

“He gave us a chance to win, and we got five innings out of Kevin, which was amazing,” DeMatha head coach Sean O’Conner said. “Once we started shortening the distance, I think the momentum got on our side, and as we kept rolling zeros back in the dugout, it felt good.”

DeMatha quickly jumped to an early 2-0 lead. However, Riverdale Baptist answered right back when Brody Cook hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning to regain the lead, 3-2. Cook was selected as the player of the game for the Crusaders after going 2-4 at the plate, and he contributed seven assists at the third base position.

Riverdale Baptist mustered only two more runs in the following inning when Andrew Sharpe blasted a two-run shot past the left field fence to go up by three.

After giving up two big home runs, Fitzmaurice threw three scoreless innings. Keith helped the Stags offensively in the third when he drove in junior Ben Prada with a two-run home run to narrow the gap, 5-4.

Keith hit a single in the fifth inning to drive in Devin Beverly, and Justin Morris hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field that moved Prada across the plate for the final score of the inning.

Keith showed his versatility, relieving Fitzmaurice in the sixth inning and earned a save on two scoreless innings pitched.

“What a great kid. ... The kids have openly accepted him like he has been here for four years,” O’Conner said. “It’s pretty crazy to watch 12 seniors just act like they have known each other for their whole life.”

The Severna Park transfer and University of Maryland commit was dialed in at the plate. Keith scored two runs on three hits with three RBIs; he also stole two bases.

However, the Crusaders had little left in the tank after Taylor Bloom replaced starting pitcher Ryan Selmer in the bottom of the sixth. Unfortunately, the change didn’t favor Riverdale Baptist when DeMatha senior Carl Colbert stepped in the box.

Bloom saw a towering home run sail over his head after throwing his first pitch for a solo home run. DeMatha cruised to a 7-5 victory, and the Stags earned their 19th win of the season by defeating the No. 3 Crusaders.

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