- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Like rollercoasters? Forget Kings Dominion. The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs were your ticket for a thrill ride during the 2012 season.
After an extreme downward spiral during the first half of the regular season, finishing with a franchise-worst 30-40 record, the Blue Crabs regrouped and experienced a sharp upward surge during the second half to win the Liberty Division with a 39-31 mark.
That clinched a Blue Crabs playoff berth for the fourth straight year, as somehow they turned their commemorative fifth-year of existence into a happy ending during the regular season.
But the Blue Crabs were also consistent in being postseason bridesmaids in pursuit for the Atlantic League championship, as they bowed out of the playoffs still without the coveted crown.
The Blue Crabs were knocked out of the postseason in a memorable Liberty Division Championship Series, losing a heartbreaking 5-4 all-deciding Game 5 at Long Island on Sept. 30. The Blue Crabs had trailed 2-0 in the series before almost completing the comeback heroics.
It was the same underdog Long Island team the Blue Crabs owned during the regular season with 14 wins in 20 meetings, including a dominating 9-1 tab in the second half.
And, it was the same Long Island team that pulled even a bigger upset in the league championship series by shocking heavy favorite Lancaster by the same 5-4 outcome in another all-deciding Game 5 on Oct. 7, as the New Yorkers’ revamped pitching rotation for the postseason paid huge dividends.
“In all the dreams you have as a kid, you never give up a home run,” half-jokingly said Blue Crabs starting pitcher Ben Moore, who was brought into Game 5 versus Long Island as a reliever and had the team five outs away from moving on to the championship series with a 3-2 lead before surrendering the game-winning two-run shot in the eighth on a pitch he threw in his desired location. “I didn’t feel horrible about it because I did the best I could. I feel bad for the other guys on the team, especially ‘Ozzie’ [Blue Crabs manager Patrick Osborn]. Nobody cares more about the team than ‘Ozzie.’
“Maybe next May, I’ll look back and say, ‘We should’ve kicked their butts,’ but we felt evenly matched [in the series against Long Island].”