Wednesday, December 04, 2013 11:04 AM
Published on: Thursday, April 04, 2013
By Holden Wilen
GAITHERSBURG — The Churchill High School baseball team finally picked up a win after defeating Gaithersburg 6-1 in a spring break tournament game last Thursday.
Though the game will not count in the standings, Churchill coach Scott Blackwood said the win is a positive step for a team that started the regular season 0-3, including a 5-2 loss to Quince Orchard earlier in the day. Junior pitcher Eric Brodkowitz delivered a strong performance, pitching six shutout innings with eight strikeouts and allowing only three hits.
“I think our pitching staff and defense has done a terrific job so far,” Blackwood said. “It has taken us a while to get our bats going. We have just got to do a better of situation hitting. Our pitching staff so far has done an excellent job keeping us in all the games and getting us opportunities to win games. That is all you can ask for.”
Churchill scored two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead. The team scored two more runs in the seventh to put the game away. Churchill was led by junior catcher Brandon Hubbard, who scored a run and had two runs batted in.
For Gaithersburg, which is on a 3-1 start this season, the game was the team’s third in less than 24 hours. Earlier that day, Gaithersburg beat Montgomery Blair 3-1. The evening before, Gaithersburg lost a 12-inning affair with Poolesville, 4-3.
One of the keys to success for Gaithersburg so far has been the team’s pitching, head coach Jeff Rabberman said. The team’s three-man rotation consists of junior Nick DeCarlo, sophomore Brendan Deyo and junior Jake Thomas. Junior Dakota Durant started against Churchill, and he struck out six hitters in four innings but also walked four and allowed two runs.
Rabberman said he expected the pitching to be good coming into the season, but he expects it to get even better as the season goes on and the players gain more experience. There are only four seniors on the Gaithersburg team.
“All three of those guys, our starters, they have things that they need to work on and get better at,” Rabberman said. “There is always room for improvement, but where they are at right now, I really like where we are going to be. I don’t think there is anybody we can’t compete with.”
One area where the team needs to improve, Rabberman said, is offensive execution. In the team’s extra-inning loss to Poolesville, the team had chances to score but was not able to get the hit it needed to score a run. Against Churchill, the offense was never able to get going.
“We can’t rely on our guys to keep coming out and keep giving up one, two or no runs,” Rabberman said. “I told the kids today if we score five or six runs every game, we are going to be pretty tough to beat. Our offensive execution and approach at the plate has got to get better.”
Overall, Rabberman said he is excited about the season and the potential for his team. The 3-1 start and strong early-season pitching performances are positive steps for a team that finished 9-13 last year.