Delayed by rain, Northwest comes back to defeat Blair in playoffs 3-2

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xNorthwest vs. Blair baseball 3bNorthwest’s Griffin Bubb slides into third base as Blair’s Sam Strongin dives for the ball.    PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULISIn the previously suspended MPSSAA Regional Finals Playoff game, some of the most exciting baseball of the year was had for an all too brief time on day two, as the Northwest Jaguars (17-4) came back to win 3-2 against the Blair Blazers (15-7) at Northwest High School on Saturday evening.

The brief resumption of the game, with only a few batters and less than twenty minutes of actual play, changed the trajectory of two programs for this season. For the Blazers, their season ends in a tough way. For the Jaguars, they move onto the state semifinals against the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders at Shirley Povich Field on Tuesday afternoon. The winner plays in the state championship.

Northwest head coach Todd Varesco talked about the game interruption due to rain, saying, “Yesterday, we stopped when we felt we had momentum and to look back on it before we left here today we said ‘it wasn’t a bad thing the day got stopped. We got to reboot and come back tomorrow and we’re just going to play our game.’ And I’ll tell you all the guys were focused. Not one thought we were going to lose, and I got to tip my cap to them because coaching did nothing today. It was all those guys. Just rose to the occasion. Rose above the flood.”

Blair head coach Eric Zolkiewicz said of the delay on account of rain, “I have nothing to comment. We can’t change the weather. Both teams had to deal with the same circumstances. You just had to come out and play.”


B-CC Barons Smash Northwood Gladiators, 20-1

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xBCC vs. Northwood baseball 1bB-CC Barons’ Spencer Sampson hits a three-run home run.   PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  BETHESDA—The Bethesda Chevy Chase Barons boys varsity baseball team (14-7) wiped out the Northwood Gladiators (4-16) in the first round of the MPPSSA playoffs at Bethesda-Chevy Chase field on Monday afternoon.

“A win is a win,” said Barons head coach John Schmidt. “You win and you advance. And that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to convincingly try to get everything going — every part of our game — hitting, fielding and pitching and, I think, today we did…I think we can hang with a lot of people when we’re going in the right direction…You don’t take anybody lightly…Play for the next day. Don’t think about tomorrow, think about today and today, we took care of business.”

Barons senior catcher Spencer Sampson, who supplied a three-run home run, said, “I think it was a good win for us. It showed our bats are alive and we’ve come out with a playoff mentality. Ready to get it tomorrow.”

Barons junior starting pitcher John Narvaiz explained of this year’s team, “I think in the beginning of the season we had a little bit of overconfidence. We lost a few close games early this season…facing that adversity, came together and we’re ready. We’re battle-tested and we’re ready to leave this section as champions.”


Patriots win on Blake's senior night

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xBengals vs. Patriots baseball 2Wootton’s Anthony Vondas barely misses tagging the base in time to get Blake's Brandon Watkins out on an attempted steal. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

The Wootton Patriots varsity baseball team (10-6) dominated the Blake Bengals (5-13) 11-5 on Tuesday night at Blake High School.

For the Bengals, it was Senior Night and a pre-game ceremony was held to honor seniors including second baseman Brandon Watkins, centerfielder Shaun Lee, outfielder Eric Baten, catcher Chris Haley, pitcher Michael Griffin, and pitcher Kaeffan James.

“Senior Night is a special night…We make it very special. We have our play-by-play highlights of their season. We bring out their family. Everything’s family-oriented. We give the moms roses. We do corsages. Then the fathers get a ball inscripted with ‘Senior Night’ on it, and they throw out a first pitch; the first pitch ceremony to their son. So, Senior Night is something special. And I make it special because we are a family”, said Bengals head coach Steve Murfin. “We want to win the game. But we want the seniors to play and be in the spotlight.”


Northwest digs deep to overcome Blair with 8-5 win

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SILVER SPRING – The Northwest Jaguars dominated the Blair Blazers in Monday night boys baseball, keeping the home team scoreless until a close call at the bottom of the seventh.

The Jaguars were on top of their game Monday, but what hurt the Blazers the most was the combination of heavy hitters on the Jaguars squad and costly infield and outfield errors.

“It was nice to get the bases loaded, kind of get the feel that we want to get, going into the playoffs, but we expect to play like that every inning,” said junior second baseman Zachery Dunn.


Widenhofer’s frozen rope leads Poolesville over B-CC 4-2

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xBCC vs Poolesville 3Poolesville’s Zach Widenhofer (12) gets a base hit. He would later hit a three-run homer that helped Poolesville win the game. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

POOLESVILLE – Poolesville Falcons junior first baseman Zach Widenhofer stole the show with his three-run sixth inning home run to lead the Falcons varsity baseball team (12-2) to a 4-2 win over the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons (10-7) at Poolesville High School on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Falcons head coach Steve Orsini explained that hit one could not script, saying, “No … that would be the ‘Casey At Bat’…. I was saying go over, go over. That kid was back there. That was a shot. He got all of it that time.”

Widenhofer believed it might be the biggest hit of his career, saying, “It might be…. That was my first home run.”


Swarmin’ Hornets beat Sherwood after explosive inning to win 8-1

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SANDY SPRING – Thanks to an eight-run sixth inning, the Damascus Swarmin' Hornets (11-3) powered past rival Sherwood Warriors (14-3) Saturday afternoon at Sherwood High School to win 8-1, ending the Warriors’ 13-game winning streak.

“Not very often especially against a team like Sherwood,” said Hornets head coach Greg Blake of the eight-run inning. “We had opportunities all day long, and finally we broke through, which was a great thing for us. But not very often do you have an eight-run inning against a ball club like that.”

“They got the momentum on their side,” said Warriors head coach Sean Davis. “Then the inning snowballed. They did what they had to do. They got some big hits. We had to bring the infield in. So, they squirted some through. They did what they had to do in that inning. But I talked to my guys. More disappointed with our first six because baseball happens, and they put a crooked number on the board. A done deal after that.”


The lingering legend of Montgomery’s Eugene Dyson

The legend of Eugene Dyson still lingers on in Montgomery County.

To this day, local folks still talk about the Churchill High School product when the debate shifts to the county’s all-time great student-athletes.

Dyson, a Scotland native who was a multi-sport athlete at Churchill in the 1980’s, had the Midas touch. He participated in football, basketball and baseball at the Potomac public school.

“Eugene was a beast,” recalled Todd Lancaster, a 1980 Rockville graduate. “He had a motor on him.”


Cal Ripken League All-Stars Take One in Cuba

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Historic trip sends local baseball players to Cuba in a series of goodwill games before enthusiastic crowds

DSC 0458 Craig Lopez (Baltimore Red Birds) strokes a hit up top during the goodwill games in Cuba. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  

HAVANA, CUBA – Some of the best talent from the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League competed for the first time ever in Cuba last week against professional teams in the Cuban National Series.

The CRCBL squad ended up 1-2, earning a 3-2 victory against Pinar del Rio that surprised Bruce Adams, director of the Office of Community Partnerships in Montgomery County and one of the organizers behind the trip.

He noted the Ripken team “amazingly won the first game.”

“We found it extraordinary that we were able to win a game against these top teams,” said Adams. “Our record was 1-2 but we were glad.”


Giants’ success at the plate leads to historic season

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GBurg Giants logo

Gaithersburg Giants right-hander Matt Chanin was grateful the offense gave him plenty of run support during his starts this season.

But there was a threshold, a point at which Chanin grew frustrated with the team’s production at the plate. As the Giants kept scoring and the innings lingered on, the Olney native just sat in the dugout. In some games, Chanin played catch to keep warm.

“I was just like ‘Seriously, we’ve got enough runs for me to handle. My arm’s getting cold. We’re good,’” Chanin said.


Injuries limit T-Bolts’ success despite postseason berth

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DSC 3002 webT-Bolts players Paul Burmester (33) & Matt Mervis (28) meet Roberto Rivera (42) at home plate as he scores in a game earlier this season. FILE PHOTO

With catcher Nick Cieri leading the way, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts entered the All-Star break five games over .500 and looked poised to earn their second straight postseason berth.

Cieri, one of seven Thunderbolts all stars, ranked in the top 10 of the league in home runs (five) and RBIs (24). His team was two games better at the break than last year’s bunch, which made the program’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

But after defeating D.C. Grays 6-4 in their next game, the Thunderbolts’ fortunes, along with Cieri’s, went south down the stretch. Cieri was injured while weightlifting at the University of Maryland, forcing him to miss the final six games. It was the latest setback for a team that lost a lot of talent throughout the season.

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