GREENBELT – When the state playoffs begin, a brand new season starts and teams become willing to do anything to chase championship glory. The Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders (16-3) took the field against the rival Bowie Bulldogs (13-6) to complete a four-run comeback victory (7-6) on May 12 during a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 4A baseball playoff match.
“I feel relieved to get a win like that, we played really well and never gave up out there,” said Roosevelt Head Coach Andrew Capece.
“These type of games are sort of like the NCAA’s, anything can happen out there, and we were fortunate enough to get a couple walks in there, but we give credit to Bowie,” Capece said. “Last time we played them it was a similar result. Now we have to prepare for our next opponent in Flowers who we dropped two close games to this year.”
In the first inning, Bowie got on base but failed to get anything going. In the bottom of the first, the Raiders managed to get on the scoreboard early on. With two outs, Roosevelt senior pitcher/outfielder Devin Robinson came up big and drove Christopher Jones home with an RBI single, 1-0.
The Bulldogs managed to regain the lead in the top of the second. With a bases-loaded situation, Nigel Jennings connected on a fat pitch and brought home a run with a sacrifice groundout to go up by one 2-1.
Moving to the third inning, the Bulldogs unleashed a scoring tear by putting up three runs. Elias Nurideen and Cesar Rivera were patient at the dish and took a bag each respectively after getting walked by Robinson. Following their at-bats, Chayne Radnetter drove in the first RBI and Nurideen scored 3-1. Following the RBI, James Wright singled to the center field and brought home Darian Jacobs 4-1.
Even with the great showing of offense, the Bulldogs ace Justin Johnson (five and one-thirds innings) played with confidence on the mound with his dominant fastball. In the bottom of the third, he worked his way out of a jam with two men on base by striking out Hector De La Rosa.
After the Bulldogs pulled away to a four-run lead, they continued to feed off the momentum from their offense, defense and the boisterous crowd.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, many fans assumed that this game was over with a four-run lead and three outs remaining. However, the Raiders in a desperate situation had other plans for the potential final inning.
After Radnetter gave up two walks and a single that caused a bases-loaded situation, it was time to make a pitching change. Jaden Lewis was called to the mound in relief. When Jones was in the box, he rocketed a hit in the gap to bring home a run, 6-3. The momentum continued to shift toward the Raiders as they scored three more runs to tie the game 6-6.
As the Raiders moved into defensive mode, relief pitcher Brian Bailey continued his dominance on the hill against the Bulldogs by forcing three fly-balls to get the Raiders out of the inning quickly.
“While I was on the mound, I was just thinking about trying throw strikes to force them to hit it and trust my defense to take care the rest of the job,” Bailey said.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Raiders had two runners in scoring position. A passed ball in the dirt got by Cesar Rivera as he attempted to throw a runner out at second base and it went past the glove of the chasing outfielder. Andy Orwig took advantage of this opportunity and advanced from second to earn the walk-off on the throwing error leading the Raiders to victory.
“It was a really great moment, and it’s great to have your team behind you in moments like that,” Bowie Head Coach Bryan Harris said. “I knew soon as the ball went past I had a shot of bringing home the winning run.”
Despite the devastating loss, Harris is still happy for his Bulldogs.
“This is a tough situation, especially for my 10 seniors who have really built a family bond here,” Harris said. “I certainly wish them the best moving to the next level. Their time at Bowie has been valuable for growth as a player, and as young men. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”
After the thrilling game, the Raiders will now prepare for their second-round matchup in the 4A playoffs against Charles H. Flowers High School.