CHESAPEAKE CITY — Perryville’s Ty Patchell stood at the plate with the bases loaded, nobody out and a chance to expand the Panthers advantage in Saturday’s 1A Regional Semifinal matchup against Bohemia Manor.
Perryville Head Coach Ricky Davis told the junior going into his at-bat to lay down a suicide squeeze on the second pitch. Patchell got the bunt down, scored the run and reached base to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
Perryville’s head coach said the same situation came about in a 2019 sectional semifinal matchup against the Eagles in Chesapeake City. A sacrifice bunt with the bases loaded by then Panther Sam Richie helped Perryville capture their first win in 19 tries against the Eagles. Davis added he felt the time was right to once again give the suicide squeeze a try.
“He executed it perfectly, I think it really just caught them by surprise,” Davis said. “It is kind of like deja vu again. Here it is, we’re doing it again and going back to the regional finals.”
Patchell’s bunt was one of five runs scored in the inning by the Panthers during Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Eagles. Perryville first baseman Zach Ayers followed up the Panthers’ small ball with a two-run double to left field and extended the Panthers’ lead to four runs.
“I heard he was a fastball pitcher and was waiting for that fastball in the strike zone,” Ayers said. “He threw me two curveballs outside the zone and I knew fastball was coming. He put it right in my ally and I put a good swing on it.”
Right fielder Cameron Kestner kicked off Perryville’s sixth inning surge with an RBI single that stayed in fair territory to break a 1-1 tie and put the Panthers ahead by a run. Prior to Kestner’s blooper to left, Perryville’s head coach called for time and talked with Kestner.
“He just told me to take a deep breathe, relax, make a good swing and I wound up making good contact, made a good play and we scored some runs off of it,” Kestner said.
Through the first five innings, Perryville pitcher Hayden Kenney dueled on the rubber with Bohemia Manor’s Chris Harris and Logan Hall. The Eagles only run came on an RBI single by Harris in the home half of the first inning. The Panthers knotted the game back at one in the top half of the third inning when Patchell scored on an errant throw to second base.
Perryville used multiple double plays to get out of jams in the second and fourth innings. Kenney finished the day going six innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs and striking out four Bohemia Manor hitters. Perryville’s starting pitcher credited his defense for having his back in the field.
“That is the most important thing I can think of is the team having my back,” Kenney said. “You got to keep it nice and cool, think, breathe between every single pitch and give it your all.”
Perryville will play in its first regional final since that same 2019 season when the Panthers visit Havre De Grace on Tuesday. Perryville is 0-2 against the Warriors this season.
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