Chesapeake baseball scores four first-inning runs in 4-3 regional final win over Mt. Hebron

May 14—Often in playoff baseball, a team can take some time to settle in. In Tuesday afternoon's Class 3A South Region I final, Chesapeake bucked that trend.

In wet, rainy conditions, the Cougars struck early with four first-inning runs. Dylan Adams and Keller Herzberger highlighted the rally with a pair of two-RBI singles. That early run support was enough as the Cougars held off multiple comeback attempts from top seed Mt. Hebron in a 4-3 win.

"You just enjoy it," Chesapeake coach Jeff Young said. "I've got three guys on this team that were on the 2022 state championship team. Two of them are graduating. We're just not really ready for it to end. It's not so much about winning another state championship quite yet; it's about that we don't want to stop playing together."

The Cougars (14-5) now advance to the 3A state quarterfinals and await their opponent after the eight region winners are reseeded.

Mt. Hebron (14-3) wouldn't go down without a fight, putting multiple runners on base in the fifth and sixth inning. Cougars starter Camryn Sisson faced his toughest spot in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs. Before the ensuing at-bat, Young spoke with Sisson and encouraged him to breathe and relax.

The veteran, who was a member of the Cougars 2022 state championship, locked in during the critical moment. Sisson's honed the mental aspect of his game throughout his four-year career, not allowing outside noise to affect him. He got Luke Evans to ground out to quell the Vikings rally, then emphatically pumped his fist and shared some words with the raucous Mt. Hebron student section against the fence.

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"It got a little tight there and I started losing it a little bit," Sisson said. "Then, I took a breath and relaxed a little bit. Their student section was getting me going. I love when everyone is hype and into it. When we got that out and it ended the inning, it was really special and got me pumped up."

However, Mt. Hebron wasn't done rallying. In the sixth, the Vikings worked a leadoff walk and Colton Duffy came on in relief. He allowed a run on a bloop single but shut the door on any further damage with a strikeout. In the seventh, Duffy faced the middle of the Vikings order, starting with No. 3 hitter Mike Brogno, who already had two hits on the day. He struck out Brogno to start the inning and then shut the door on Mt. Hebron, sending the Cougars to the next round.

"I just wasn't going to lose the game." Duffy said. "I was going to try and strike them all out. It's all about the first out. I just never let myself beat myself. Not a lot of people can hit me very well, so it's a matter of if I let them on base."

Chesapeake took advantage of Vikings starter Will Cucuzella's command struggles early. They loaded the bases on a walk, error and hit by pitch. From there, timely hitting from Adams and Herzberger was all the offense the Cougars needed.

"That's the problem, that four-run first inning," Mt. Hebron coach Aaron Wilson said. "They were hitting the ball hard, but that one error was really the killer. The rain coming down and the stress of it got to them a little bit."


Chesapeake-AA — 400 000 0 — 4 8 1

Mt. Hebron — 101 001 0 — 3 8 1

WP: Camryn Sisson; LP: Will Cucuzella.