Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:16 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin. The Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders celebrate their 6-4 victory over Bowie to win the Class 4A South region final.
Published on: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Daniel Kucin
Eleanor Roosevelt senior outfielder Trevor Allen watched in astonishment after slugging a two-run homer more than 300 feet against Bowie in the Class 4A South region final on Friday.
Allen delivered the backbreaking blow to the Bulldogs in the fifth inning, and Roosevelt head coach Andrew Capece knew Allen had it in him despite only hitting one home run all year (against Laurel).
“We have been waiting all year for this,” Allen said. “I have been working on hitting the curve ball all of last year after hitting five homeruns last year, so the whole year I have been struggling with the curve. But, today, I guess I just saw it.”
Curtis Purrell won the pitching duel against Bowie ace Chris Golden, showcasing the best senior pitching talent in Prince George’s 4A. He threw for six and one-third innings, striking out four batters on just more than 100 pitches.
Eleanor Roosevelt jumped to an early lead when Craig Farmer drove in Robert Lozado with an RBI single in the first inning to go up by one.
Purrell hit a two-out single to bring in two runs, as the Raiders poured on three points to start off the game strong.
Bowie responded to the Raiders’ efforts when Purrell walked two consecutive batters and hit Matthew Bieler with an off target pitch the following inning. Bieler scored from third after Mack O’Brien grounded out to first base, 3-1.
In a close dogfight, O’Brien delivered another RBI single to left field, trimming the margin down to one point in the third inning.
However, Eleanor Roosevelt tried to put the game out of reach in the fifth after Farmer drove in Taji Harris and, of course, Allen bombed the monster two-run homer.
Bowie tried to mount a late comeback in the last inning. Purrell was cruising until his pitch count was getting a little too high for Capece’s liking, and the Bulldogs seized their opportunity. Mark Vogel was hit by a pitch on Bowie’s first at bat, and Bennett Gardner walked after Zach Quarles popped up for one out. Gardner drilled a fastball to center field to drive in Vogel and Brady Mazzei on a stand -up double, 6-4.
Capece knew it was time to make a change with his lead dwindling down to two. Instead of relieving Purrell with a fresh pitcher from the bullpen, he looked to catcher Lozado to close out the game for the Raiders. The senior delivered by inducing two outs on an impressive defensive effort to defeat Bowie in a shocking series of events. Lozado received high praise from Capece, and he acknowledged the confidence he has in the versatile playmaker.
“I told these guys … that one thing I have never done is pull a guy from behind a plate and put him on the mound. ... It usually never works out,” Capece said. “I can remember my first Regional Championship was on this field in Bowie and they were up. … They pulled the catcher to pitch the rest of the game, and he was drained on a hot day like this. It would take somebody like Robert for me to do it.”