Stellar defense gets Shepherd past Concord in second game
SHEPHERDSTOWN – Shepherd’s doubleheader with Concord started in a persistent light rain and then was completed after the Ram defense provided the home side with three plays that were vital in downing the Mountain Lions, 7-0 and 6-4, in a Mountain East Conference twinbill.
Both teams took batting practice and went through their fielding drills, in spite of the rain. The first four innings of the opener were played in the light rain, as Shepherd used the two-hit pitching of Mitchell Wilson and two run-productive innings to silence the Mountain Lions.
Wilson limited Concord – holder of the league’s best team batting average at .322 – to two harmless singles, while he fanned six and walked five in earning his complete-game shutout.
Shepherd infielder Syeed Mahdi hammered a three-run home for most of his four RBIs and Eddie Nottingham, Jared Carr, Gio Torres and Mahdi all had two hits.
The Rams bunched seven combined hits in the third and fifth innings to score all seven of their runs.
In the dry second game, Shepherd had to rally to get its hard-earned 6-4 win behind the complete-game pitching of Ryan Potts.
It was consistently splendid defense that rescued the Rams and brought them from behind.
Already trailing 3-0 in the second inning, Rams’ centerfielder Brenton Doyle threw out a Concord runner at the plate to end the uprising against Potts.
After Justin Smith gave Shepherd some offensive life with his two-run home run that sliced Concord’s lead to 3-2, the Mountain Lions pushed across their fourth run and had another runner in scoring position, with two out in the fifth.
It was then that Torres ranged into right field to make an over-the-shoulder catch on his knees, as rightfielder Carr slipped for the third time and could not get to the potential RBI safety.
Concord still had a 4-2 lead.
The Rams had hits from Daniel Keer, Torres and Carr in what became a go-ahead, three run rally in the fifth.
Leading for the first time in the nightcap, the Rams got another defining defensive play in the sixth.
With the potential tying run at second base, Concord’s left-handed batting Ryan Fralin punched a soft single over the head of the Ram third baseman. Smith, in left field, hustled to foul line, speared the ball on a low hop, turned completely around and made a perfect throw to third to keep the man moving from second to third from scoring.
Potts fanned Adam Linkous for the inning-ending third out, thus preserving Shepherd’s scant 5-4 lead at the time.
Mahdi’s solo homer in the sixth gave the Rams a 6-4 lead that Potts protected with up-and-down-in-order in the Concord seventh.
Shepherd’s 17-9 overall record included an 8-2 mark in conference games.
Carr managed a 4-for-6 afternoon to lift his batting average to a team-leading .430 mark.
Wilson’s pitching won the opener. And then a trio of defensive gems pushed Concord into the losing column in Game Two.