The Frederick Flying Dogs all but locked up the top seed for the upcoming Mid-Maryland Semi-Pro Baseball League tournament with a doubleheader sweep of the second-place Thurmont Titans on Sunday. Most of the credit for that twin killing goes to the team’s pitching staff.
Matt Buchholz allowed one hit and struck out seven Titans in Frederick’s 1-0 victory in the opener of the doubleheader as the dominant right-hander outdueled Thurmont manager-pitcher Zak Nedzel, who surrendered two hits in his complete-game effort. The seven-inning contest took just a little more than an hour to play.
Steve Shriner knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of sixth on a two-out single to score Ryan Morse, who reached on a double.
“That was the most competitive game we’ve had all year,” Buchholz said. “It was good pitching and good defense and not a lot of good hitting, but that happens with good pitching. It was just my fastball, good location and good breaking pitches. I just went right after them.”
In the second game, Frederick’s Tim Martin limited the Titans (16-7 overall and in league play) to three hits in five innings and Rich Ropp worked two scoreless innings in relief to propel the Flying Dogs (25-4, 20-1 in league play) to a 5-0 victory.
“It was just fastball, fastball, fastball,” Martin said. “I threw probably three off-speed pitches. Me and Buck [Buchholz] had two weeks off [from pitching]. We’re completely rested. That time off helps out. We were being used pretty steady.”
Martin got all the run support he needed in the first inning as the Flying Dogs scored three runs on three hits and two hit batsman. Seth Sherwood knocked in two of those runs on a bases-loaded single and Chris Fulda drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases full.
Frederick posted two more runs in the bottom of the second inning on a wild pitch that scored Morse and an error that scored Nick Bourque. The Titans now trail Frederick by six games in the loss column for the top seed. The Flying Dogs have six games remaining, including a pair against a Carroll County Blue Sox team they have scored a total 61 runs against this season.
“We’re right behind them in the standings and you want to take first place and get that first-round bye, but we’re locked into second place,” Nedzel said. “We’ll play the lowest-seeded team in the first round.”
Nedzel’s squad will be well rested for tournament play as its bye week comes the Sunday before postseason play begins.
Frederick Flying Dogs 1, Thurmont Titans 0
Thurmont (16-6) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 0
Frederick (19-1) 0 0 0 0 0 1 x — 1 2 0
WP — Matt Buchholz. LP — Zak Nedzel. 2B: Frederick — Ryan Morse. RBI: Frederick — Steve Shriner.
Frederick Flying Dogs 5, Thurmont Titans 0
Thurmont (16-7) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 4 0
Frederick (20-1) 3 2 0 0 0 0 x — 5 9 0
WP — Tim Martin. LP — Tommy Mongold. RBI: Frederick — Seth Sherwood 2, Chris Fulda.