ANNE ARUNDEL, Md. – The Coppin State baseball team enjoyed a glorious sun-splashed afternoon.
The day started with Coppin State paying tribute to seniors Chris Godfrey
, Darryl Martinez
and Frank Mewborn
in a festive pre-game ceremony. Then it concluded with jubilant blue-shirted Coppin State players rushing out of the dugout like an ocean tidal wave and burying Michael Wright underneath a celebratory dogpile near first base.
Wright delivered a one-out single to rightfield past a drawn-in infield that lifted Coppin State to a dramatic 4-3 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore in a riveting Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game at Joe Cannon Stadium Sunday afternoon. Wright’s hit scored Jonathan Calvin
, who was on third base, and Jeffrey Fitch
, who was on second base, and capped an amazing three-run ninth inning rally for the Eagles (10-29 overall, 8-13 MEAC).(BOXSCORE)
“Before the at the bat happened, I went down the third base line and spoke with head coach Sherman Reed
and he told me the first fastball I see, you can hit, but it has to be in your zone,” Wright said. “Of course, the first pitch was in the dirt, so the second pitch, I was looking for a fastball. I was looking on the right side even before I saw the pitch come and there was a hole and I focused on hitting the ball to the right side to at least tie the game. Luckily, it found a hole.”
In one of Jay-Z’s classic rap songs, “Ain’t Nobody Like The One I Got”, he says, “you can’t change a playas game in the ninth inning.” While that could be true, a late deficit can always be reversed especially in the ninth inning when you have as much heart and character as Coppin State. Nine of Coppin State’s wins this season have come when it has trailed after six innings.
“We have a never quit mentality no matter how much adversity we face,” Wright said. “We’re always going to battle no matter what the score is until the final out. We are a resilient team and we always believe we’re going to win.”
The Eagles have endured plenty of misfortune this season, but through all the ups and downs, they have remained positive while confidently believing their breakthrough is around the corner. While Wright had the decisive hit, the Eagles got everybody’s best in salvaging a game from this three-game set against UMES and winning the season series, 5-4.
Coppin State’s bullpen of Shane Davies
and Michael Roberts
was awesome as it tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless ball after Anderson Burgess
was forced to leave the game early. They held the fort down and ultimately gave the Eagles the chance to end the day happy.
“We needed a win in the worse way today,” Roberts said. “I just focused on throwing strikes and keeping the score where it was so that we could have a chance late. We’ve had a lot of injuries this year. The beauty about sports is all about getting hot at the right time and if we get hot at the right time, then that’s all that matters.”
With the Eagles down to their final three outs, the classic theme from “Rocky” played between innings. Whether or not that inspired the Eagles, nobody will ever know, but the Eagles did deliver plenty of haymakers in the form of three straight singles from Alex Brown, Calvin and Fitch before Wright applied the knockout with the Eagles’ fourth consecutive single.
Fitch and Wright were a dynamic duo at the top of the Coppin State lineup. They combined for four of the Eagles seven hits with two each. Fitch extended his career-best hitting streak to eight with his fifth multi-hit game of the season. For Wright, it was his second multi-hit game of the season. They have benefitted from spending countless hours working with assistant coach Jerome Dunning
in the batting cages long after practice has ended.
“I can honestly say that the late night sessions with coach paid off when I needed to come through for my time,” Wright said. “I was in that spot because of the hard work of my team before me. It was nice to win the game and to do it on senior day. It was my gift to them to help them leave on a good note.”
In addition to starting the Eagles’ ninth inning rally with a one-out single, Brown threw out three potential bases stealers to also help keep Coppin State close. Maryland-Eastern Shore was paced by Byron Campbell, who drove in a pair of runs and starting pitcher Chipper Smith, who pitched 8.1 innings.
“The one positive trait that this team has shown is their knack for not giving up regardless of the situation,” Reed said. “They battle and stay close enough to give themselves a chance late in the game.”