THURMONT, Md. (WDVM) – In the first inning of the Catoctin Cougars’ game against Clear Spring on June 9th, Logan Simanski lined up an RBI single; giving the Cougars room for an early lead. According to senior Dustin Isanogle, that moment “flipped the switch” for Catoctin, from their play in the regular season, to the postseason.
The Cougars would go on to win that game 6-5, against the top-seed Blazers; beginning their journey all the way to the 1A State title game, on June 18th, against #4 St. Michaels.
Catoctin would beat Smithsburg 16-4 to lock up the 1A West Region II title, move on to beat Patterson Mills 3-1 to advance to the semifinals, and beat Northern Garrett 13-5 to lock up their in the 1A state final.
“Seven innnings of chaos, that’s what we call our offense now.” said Coach Franklin.
Each of their games in the postseason have been on the road, and the Cougars have racked up over 450 miles of travel so far, a feat that only adds to the confidence on this team.
“We’ve traveled a lot, and for our kids to go consecutive away games, and play so well, our confidence is high. I don’t think our guys will be afraid of anything.” said Head Coach Mike Franklin, when asked about the journey his team has taken so far.
The flip of the switch happened in a short period for the Cougars, as Coach Franklin explained; almost two weeks before the state title game.
“We were working on our swings through the regular season, and you’re hoping that they’re coming around.” said Coach Franklin, “And once you get to the postseason, it’s time to sink, or swim. What’re we really going to be? So we realized, there’s just not enough time to get all of our hitters where they need to be. And so we adopted a small ball style; our guys do a lot of slashing, a lot of trickery on the bases, take an extra base any time you can, work the pitch count, and work some walks; and it’s worked great. We’ve scored more runs in the postseason, than we have during the regular season.”
“Being a pitcher, I know that my fielding has me, everyone behind me is solid.” said senior pitcher Ayden Shadle, when asked about this new style in play from his perspective. “And they can make the plays, and it feels good knowing that if I give up a little hit or something, they have my back. It feels good.”
Now the Cougars only have one more step left in their hunt for their first state title, since 2013. A task that isn’t daunting at all.
“We’re gonna bring the energy. I feel like our bench play is amazing, it’s outstanding, everyone’s got each other’s backs. And I’m super excited. No nerves, I’m super excited!”
First pitch is scheduled for 1PM for the Cougars, at Regency Furniture Stadium, in Waldorf, Maryland.