GAITHERSBURG – Poolesville pitcher Robbie Metz struck out Gaithersburg senior Nick DeCarlo to give his team a 2-1 win Monday evening in a matchup of the two best players on the two best public high school baseball teams in Montgomery County.
Down 2-1 with the bases loaded and two outs following an RBI single by Jake Thomas, DeCarlo—Gaithersburg’s (16-2) leadoff hitter—came to the plate to face Metz, a close friend and top pitcher for the undefeated Falcons (17-0). After running the count full, Metz got DeCarlo to strike out for a third time in the game to clinch the victory.
“He stepped it up,” said Poolesville head coach Steve Orsini.
Metz, a George Washington University recruit, pitched a complete game shutout. Metz struck out 11 batters—DeCarlo three times—allowed five hits, walked three and gave up one run.
“That’s pretty good against a good team and they are a good team, a very good team,” Orsini said. “When (Metz) is on, look out. He is just so mentally tough. The crowd doesn’t affect him, and he does what he needs to do.”
Metz also did well at the plate, going 1-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a run scored.
Throughout the game both teams benefitted from strong pitching performances. Poolesville loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, but DeCarlo—who started on the mound for Gaithersburg—got out of the jam by striking out the side.
The game changed when Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Rabberman made the decision to change pitchers before the fifth inning. At the time, DeCarlo had pitched four scoreless innings, struck out eight batters and given up only three hits.
Rabberman said he made the decision before the game to limit DeCarlo’s innings.
“I want them to be ready for the playoffs. I didn’t want Nick Pantos and Anthony Felitti to go a week without throwing a live game. I didn’t want Nick’s best game today, I need his best game on Monday and then his next best game the next game,” Rabberman said. “He’s going to be nice and ready but still polished for the playoffs. That was done a couple of days ago. I made that decision and I was not going to change it.”
Poolesville broke through in the fifth inning when senior centerfielder Chris Convers hit an RBI single to drive in Metz. Poolesville added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Thayer Seely hit a solo home run to deep right field.
Gaithersburg rallied in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs, but Metz recovered to strike out two batters. After giving up a run, he retired DeCarlo.
“I was just trying to get ahead in the count,” Metz said. “I got the fastball by him early and then tried getting him chasing a little bit but he never did. I threw the curveball a few times. I threw for a strike once and then kept it outside from him. That is one pitch he can’t really hit.”
Rabberman said he is still confident in how his team will perform despite the team suffering its second loss of the season.
“I don’t think we will see a pitcher as good as Robbie the rest of the way,” Rabberman said. “That’s not to take anything away from anybody but I don’t think we will see anything better than what we just saw.”