Leesburg (May 9, 2013) – Heritage High School right-hander Matt Gloger was dominant on Thursday night, allowing only six base runners in the midst of throwing a complete game, 1-0, shutout over the Loudoun Valley Vikings (12-7 overall, 10-5 in the district).
The Pride (12-7, 11-4) scored their only run of the game in the third inning, against equally as dominant Loudoun Valley starter Will Reed, on a Brandall Peter’s infield pop fly that was dropped allowing sophomore Tyler Richards to score.
Gloger faced the minimum through four innings, even though three Vikings reached base, and faced only three more than the minimum for the entire game.
In the first, he plunked the second batter of the game, his counterpart in Reed, but on a 3-1 count to the next batter, senior Danny White, Gloger induced an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
“I was just trying to keep my ball low, especially my fastball, to get some groundballs,” the senior Gloger said. “I had good command of my changeup which helped out a lot. My changes allowed me to keep them off guard, keep them out in front to get more groundballs.”
The second runner Gloger allowed in the game was junior Brandon Grayson who singled to center field to lead off the top of the second. Grayson did not wait long in trying to swipe second base, but freshman Chad Koehler had other thoughts in mind as he caught the speedy Grayson trying to get into scoring position.
Although Gloger’s fastball and changeup were both effective, he did give up a leadoff single to Max Hughes in the top of the third frame. However, during the next at-bat Gloger gave Hughes three looks before finally spinning and picking him off following a rundown.
In the fifth, Gloger had his first scare of the game as third baseman Blake Southerland roped a one-out double down the left field line. Southerland advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded after Gloger struck out the next two Loudoun Valley batters before lightning struck in Leesburg.
“He has really come around with all of his pitches and is able to throw them in a lot of counts,” head coach Ryan Price said. “He’s really matured a lot in that standpoint.”
After the inning ending strikeouts, dark skies rolled over the ball field and players were sent for shelter for a thirty-minute weather delay where Gloger stayed mentally prepared.
“I was just trying to keep myself focused even in the rain delay,” Gloger said. “I was sitting off by myself just thinking about what I need to do out there to keep it going.”
Both Loudoun Valley’s Reed and Heritage’s Gloger came back after the delay to finish their complete games.
“We talked about it; it wasn’t a long discussion,” Price said of deciding on whether to finish with Gloger or go to the southpaw Zach Turner. “Telling us it was only a twenty-minute delay, we figured let’s let him go finish what he started. [He was] low in pitch count, had enough left and was throwing well up to that point so I wanted to give him a chance.”
Price and the Pride saw another scare in the seventh as Grayson stepped up and smashed a 3-1 changeup to left field where the left fielder Peters leaded against the fence and leapt to catch the ball before it bounced off the top of the chain link, saving Gloger from having to pitch with a runner in scoring position.
Gloger ended the pitching duel with his eighth ground ball out of the night, getting Southerland to bounce one right back to him on the mound.
Loudoun Valley can wrap up home field advantage in the first round of the Dulles District tournament with a win next Tuesday, May 14 when they travel back to Leesburg to take on the Tuscarora Huskies.
Heritage’s regular season scenario can finish in a multitude of different ways, however, the Pride control their own fate which will be decided Friday night in Brambleton in their final regular season game against the Briar Woods Falcons.
“The district as a whole is pretty strong from the top and down through fifth and sixth place: any of those teams can beat anyone. Any team can win in this league,” Price said. “I expect a tough first round in [the district]tournament. I think there are going to be some upsets and some teams advancing to the region that weren’t expecting to be there at the beginning of the season.”