St. Michaels’ 3-run fifth spoils Kent’s upset bid

ST. MICHAELS — If this had been a boxing match, we’d say the champ was on the ropes.

Kent County, whose 12 losses include a double-digit defeat at home to heavily favored St. Michaels on April 9, had quietly built a 2-1 lead through four innings in the rematch here Thursday.

“We were surprised, and so was St. Michaels,” Kent County High School head baseball coach Jason Conner said in a telephone interview Saturday.

St. Michaels ultimately scored a 4-2 victory, rallying for three runs in the last of the fifth inning to improve to 14-1.

“I don’t like to lose, but I was happy with the result,” Conner said. “I was very impressed with our defense and the way we picked up on their small ball game.”

KCHS (2-12) foiled three St. Michaels’ attempts to score on squeeze bunts. Plus, sophomore catcher Scottie Ford threw out two runners trying to steal second and another trying to swipe third.

With the Trojans’ top two pitchers nursing injuries, junior Tanner Beck was the next man up — and he turned in a fine effort. Beck’s line included three walks and one strikeout; he went six innings on just 82 pitches.

St. Michaels pushed three runs across the plate in the last of the fifth, when Kent County committed its only error. The game turned on Jacob Bealefeld’s two-run double.

Brock Grow threw three innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. He retired the Trojans in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and struck out seven of the nine batters he faced.

Kent County scored its two runs off of starter Eli Wallace.

Jace Conner led off the game with a single, stole his way around the bases to third, and scored on Noah Iacona’s single for a 1-0 lead.

Iacona advanced on Beck’s sacrifice bunt and a Ford groundout, but was left at third.

St. Michaels leveled the score at 1-all in the last of the second, but Kent County regained the lead in the top of the fourth when Beck scored.

Kent County went 0-3 during the week, which included a 15-4 loss at home to Colonel Richardson on April 23. 

The Colonels scored seven runs in their first at-bat.

Kent County scored all its runs in the last of the fourth, when Braden Wilson homered, Liam Tidaback doubled, and Ford and Beck singled.

NOTES: St. Michaels’ only loss is 6-5 to Colonel Richardson (14-1) on Wednesday, April 24.

Colonel Richardson was the 2023 Class 1A state runner-up.

Kent County’s next game is home at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 versus North Dorchester (6-7). 

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