No shame at the Nest

After a great season, the Eagles fell short even with excellent performances in the regional baseball finals

Junior pitcher Zachary Zippy Harris

Junior pitcher Zachary “Zippy” Harris

It’s never easy to walk off the field knowing it’s the final time. You only get four years to play high school sports, and the seasons always fly by. Although winning titles for your school is a goal for many, it’s a goal few ever achieve. That’s why it’s important to cherish more than just wins, but every moment you have with your teammates. The game may have not been won, but that isn’t a reason to forget this season completely.

The Eagles finished the regular season with a better record than second-round opponent Marriotts Ridge, but that didn’t mean it would be easy. Both squads powered past their first matchups of the playoffs, with Centennial defeating Westminster 8-1, and Ridge taking care of Manchester Valley 7-3. Students and parents from both Centennial and Marriotts Ridge flooded the hill above the baseball field; noise from the large crowd created a distracting atmosphere for the players.

The sole highlights from the game came from junior starting pitcher Zachary “Zippy” Harris, who put on an outstanding performance of almost nine scoreless innings while allowing only two hits before being pulled for reaching the allowed pitch limit. Harris was rightfully applauded as he left the mound to be replaced by junior Cade Ahearn in the ninth inning.

Junior pitcher Zachary “Zippy” Harris

Partly due to the pitching from Harris, the match was an intense stalemate, finding its way to extra innings before a single run was scored. Centennial didn’t come close to any runs during regular innings, but Ridge had multiple opportunities to put some away. The closest opportunity came in the top of the seventh when the Mustangs managed to load the bases. With zero outs, they were bound to get at least a single run, but the Eagles put on a defensive masterclass, including a clutch double play led by senior catcher Qwynn Ahearn that initially saved the game.

Starting with a short hit down to center, the third-base runner made an effort to get home but was tagged out. Shortly after, the bases remained full with a single out and the next batter hit similarly, with this time the home runner being tagged out again. Qwynn Ahearn didn’t stop there though, as he launched it to first base to complete the double play.

Heading to extra innings, both teams continued the struggle to score runs, but hits were starting to pile up on both sides. In the 11th inning, Marriotts Ridge finally got a runner around to home plate, and they would later add two more to go up 3-0.

With Centennial now up and their backs to the wall,  their lineup had a heavy task. Cade Ahearn would bat his brother in for a single run, but slowly, connections at bat depleted. With two outs, senior Philip Heleba stepped up with the game on the line. He connected at bat and hit a pop fly, which was unfortunately caught in the outfield, ending Centennial’s playoff run. 

The season didn’t end with a state title, but the team should have no reason to have their heads down. The development and performances through the regular season demonstrated the program’s best qualities, and despite the tough loss, there is plenty to look forward to. Seniors have a bright future outside of high school, and next year’s team now has the motivation to go all the way for the first time since 2004.


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