Centennial baseball’s senior sendoff

In a battle of top three teams, Centennial rematch River Hill in a crucial end-of-season game

Cade Ahern (left) and Carter Watson (right) in frame

Cade Ahern (left) and Carter Watson (right) in frame

High school athletes patiently wait four years for the moment they’re called out on senior night. Although short, it’s an emotional experience that players will never forget, but the walkout is only half the job. Performance and outcome of the game afterward dictate whether the memory will be good or bad, and on April 28, our Centennial seniors stepped out to their home field for one of the last times in their high school career.

The highly anticipated game didn’t garner attention just for the occasion of senior night, as it was also a battle of two top teams in the county—two teams confident to make a deep playoff run. River Hill and Centennial faced off previously on April 20, but the home-team Hawks took away an 8-5 victory over the Eagles then. This time around, Centennial was looking to redeem themselves, and they put on a tense yet exciting senior night performance for the entire crowd.

River Hill began at bat, and the Eagles sent out senior Mason Hinz to pitch their first inning. Hinz nearly finished his inning with no hits but allowed a man on first base after getting the first two outs. After a struggle to throw some strikes, River Hill hit a ball deep in the outfield that allowed that earlier runner home. Centennial would not respond in the first inning.

The second inning began with a new pitcher for Centennial, senior Anthony Zolnier. Zolnier pitched well in the second inning, allowing no players to field a base. The play of the inning came when senior Ethan Gauthier made a diving grab on a shorter pop fly in the left outfield.

Anthony Zolnier in frame

A final pitcher change came in the third inning for Centennial, as senior Carter Watson went to the mound. Neither River Hill nor Centennial scored in the second or third innings, as each team was struggling to get on the bases. There were only 11 hits shared between both teams on the night.


Carter Watson in frame

Runs started to pick up in the fourth inning of the match, as both River Hill and Centennial put up a point. Entering the fifth, though, River Hill pulled in another run, causing the Eagles to go down 3-1 by the sixth inning. Once again, the sixth was a scoreless inning, and this created a lot of stress for the home team Eagles going into the final inning of the game. After a relatively tough night at bat, it seemed like the Eagles might go 0-2 against the Hawks right before the playoffs.

Watson pitched well in the final inning, not allowing any more runs, and keeping the Hawks within a manageable two-run lead. He finished the night pitching five innings, while only allowing four hits and two runs throughout. Only allowing three runs the entire night was impressive for all Centennial pitchers, considering River Hill had averaged nearly 9.5 runs the entire season.

Centennial had everything to lose or gain, a final opportunity to put River Hill away and send them home without merit. Early in the inning, freshman Casey Stachera made a hit that got him on base, and he would run in later when senior Jack Corrao stepped up to make a big hit at the plate. The score was 2-3, but after another struggle to make connection on hits, the Eagles sat at two outs in a desperate situation. With the game on the line, Carter Watson stepped up to the plate and delivered big, hitting a walk-off double to end a long, stressful game for all spectators.

The Eagles walked out of senior night with a 4-3 victory over the Hawks, and this puts them at 10-4 in the county, tying River Hills’ record but going ahead by tiebreaker rules. The only school ahead is Glenelg, who sit at a dominant 12-2 record. Centennial won a decisive 12-0 victory against Wilde Lake on May 1, but lost 9-5 against Long Reach on May 3; the Eagles have yet to face off against Reservoir on May 8. The Eagles have a chance to make a deep playoff push, and expectations are high considering the standard set by previous teams. Confidence is just as high for the team though, and with the playoffs rapidly approaching, it is a good time to be a fan of Centennial baseball.


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