By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (April 8, 2017) — Briar Woods High School senior starter Sean Clark retired the last twelve batters he faced as the Falcons’ offense exploded late to open the Titan/Ram Spring Break Classic with a 15-0 win over Hayfield High School on April 8.
“All my pitches started working, especially later when I started implementing my breaking ball,” Clark said. “When I could keep it down in the zone, it really helped.”
Clark allowed just three hits over six innings of shutout baseball, while striking out five. Two of the three batters to pick up hits were quickly retired on the bases in the fourth when senior center fielder Michael Ludowig threw one out trying to stretch a single into a double and Clark picked another off.
“I was really proud of Sean. He had a couple tough outings to start the season, but we all know what he is capable of,” Briar Woods head coach Jason Miller said. “He battled today. He did what he needed to do to win. Getting Sean on track is key for our ball club. I’m glad to see a step in the right direction.”
Clark’s biggest moment on the mound came in the third inning when the senior faced a bases loaded, one out jam. After fouling off a 3-2 pitch, Clark got Hayfield senior pitcher Logan Dickinson to ground into an inning ending double play to evade the Hawks’ threat.
“That was huge; the turning point in the game,” Clark said. “We had bases loaded and one out and we needed a big play. I wanted a strike out or a groundball, and I got the perfect double play ball.”
After putting runners on in the first and second inning, the Falcons finally broke through on offense when Clark grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice to plate senior third baseman Ty Germanowski, who reached on a leadoff walk.
Senior designated hitter Jack Jaekle drove Clark’s courtesy runner in with a one out double to extend the Briar Woods’ lead to 2-0.
“You’re going to look at the scoreboard and think it was a blowout baseball game, but it was a competitive game until late,” Miller said. “We just kept putting up runs and scrapping.”
The Falcons’ really pushed through offensively putting together a nine-run seventh inning, including a three-run blast from Ludowig, who is committed to play at Wake Forest.
“We have a good hitting baseball team, and I think that wears as the game goes on,” Miller said. “You might us get out the first time through; the second time through we get a little better. And I feel confident that when we get that third look at a pitcher, we’re able to put up runs.”
Briar Woods also saw offensive production from its back-ups as non-starters combined for five hits, four runs and five RBIs in the seventh inning alone.
“We just had the momentum and were playing loose,” Clarks said. “We brought in some guys off the bench and they got us going.”
The Falcons (0-0, 4-2) are coming off a season where they won the Conference 14 tournament championship; however, Briar Woods will have to overcome the graduation of the Cheers and LoCoSports All-LoCo Player of the Year Caleb Barnes and All-LoCo honorable mention Nathan Davis, as they try to repeat as conference champions.
“I think we’re a more talented team this year: we’re bigger, faster, and stronger on offense this year,” Miller. “We started a little slow, but I think our best baseball is ahead of us.”
|2B: Jaekle, Dengler, Falconer|
|SAC FLY: Lord|
|HBP: Kleifges, Jaekle|
|Sean Clark ( W )||6||77||3||0||0||5||2|