Friday, December 13, 2013 6:45 AM
Published on: Thursday, May 02, 2013
By Holden Wilen
QUINCE ORCHARD – In a matchup of two of Montgomery County’s top baseball programs, Quince Orchard High School won a pitchers’ duel with Sherwood High School 2-0, led by senior pitcher Daniel Fishback, who threw a complete game shutout.
Fishback kept Sherwood off balance all game long with command of his fastball and breaking ball, which allowed him to force Sherwood hitters into a lot of groundball outs. He kept Sherwood hitless until the fourth inning and only allowed two runners to advance as far as third base all game. In the end, Fishback allowed three hits and had three strikeouts in the win.
“[Fishback] is great, awesome,” said junior centerfielder Perry Konecke, who finished 1-1 with one run scored and a RBI. “He just throws a ton of strikes and gets ahead of all these batters. That is two straight games where I think he has walked a total of three people over 14 innings. It is great. I love playing defense behind him.”
Sherwood’s starting pitcher, senior right-hander Grant Dickey, also pitched well, tossing a complete game and giving up two unearned runs on five hits to go along with two strikeouts. The problem for Sherwood was a couple of defensive mistakes that led to Quince Orchard’s two runs.
In the second inning, senior first baseman Alex Thoms led off for Quince Orchard with an infield hit and advanced to second on a throwing error by Sherwood’s third baseman. Shortstop David Thibeau then executed a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third baseline to move Thoms over to third. Konecke drove in the run with a sacrifice fly to deep right field.
Konecke said he was just trying to be aggressive and put together a good at-bat.
“Our big thing right now, especially when you get two strikes on you, is you have to go up there and put it in play; do your job,” Konecke said. “It is a team effort. If one guy does something, somebody moves him over and somebody gets him in. That is the way we practice it and that is the way it is going to happen. It happened to work today.”
Konecke played a role in the second run of the game as well. He led the inning off with a base hit. He then advanced to second after almost getting caught in a rundown after a pickoff attempt by Dickey. Sherwood’s shortstop failed to get the tag down and Konecke ended up being safe at second and in scoring position. Two batters later, Konecke scored after a base hit to right field by junior second baseman Sam Shin, the team’s eighth batter.
Sherwood had an opportunity to score in the top of the sixth inning when it got men on first and second with only one out, but Fishback was able to get two fly balls to end the inning unscathed. Sherwood head coach Sean Davis said the key thing his team needs to take from the game is making routine plays both offensively and defensively.
“I was not really thrilled with our situational hitting. We had 3-1 and 3-0 counts and we are hitting dribblers or popping out — that can’t happen, so that is something we need to work on,” Davis said. “Games like this are like playoff games. It is good experience but we need to beat teams like that if we want to win at the level that we want to win at.”
For Quince Orchard, the win was particularly important, head coach Jason Gasaway said, because the team suffered an improbable loss to Magruder, a team with a losing record, just two days before. Gasaway said he didn’t let the team practice on Friday because he was so angry with them. All season long, he said, the team has played well against top teams like Sherwood and Northwest, the defending state champion, but then loses to teams with losing records, such as Magruder.
“I just told them after the game you have got to play every game like it is Sherwood or the state champs,” Gasaway said. “Whoever it is, you have to have that mentality. It does not matter who you play, you have got to go out and play the game. We have got to keep it rolling but that was a great win against a great team today.”