UPPER MARLBORO – On a day when a pre-game shower dampened the field, the Riverdale Baptist baseball team emerged from the clouds with a 7-1 victory over the visiting Potomac School on Wednesday afternoon.
Riverdale Baptist (15-5) got six good innings from left-handed starter Luis Rodriguez, who limited the Panthers to one run on five hits while fanning seven and the Crusaders took advantage of several Potomac mistakes to blow the game open in the middle frames. Panthers’ starter Keith Scales allowed four runs, two earned, in four shaky innings when he issued seven walks and fanned only two batters.
“We’re not a team that’s going to pound out a lot of hits,” said Riverdale first-year coach Ryan Terrill, who spent the previous nine seasons under his father, Terry Terrill, who retired after a 39-year stint in which he went 1,008-251. “We’re a scrappy team. We had guys take a lot of pitches today and the walks helped. They made a few mistakes and we capitalized. We’re an opportunistic team. We just needed one or two key hits.”
Riverdale made the most of its lone hit in the first inning against Scales. Brody Cook drew a leadoff walk and stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Seth Williams. Joey Mendez worked Scales for a one-out walk, stole second and later took third on a wild pitch then scored on a two-out double by John Palin, Jr. to give the Crusaders an early 2-0 lead.
Potomac (9-3) got one run back in the third against Rodriguez, but the Panthers could not do any more damage against the Crusaders’ southpaw. J.J. Richetti led off the inning with a single and stole second, took third on an error by Williams at first and then scored on a one-out single by Josh Hansan. The Panthers had two chances to plate Hansan, who took second on a wild pitch and then stole third, but Rodriguez retired the last two batters to leave him stranded.
“We kept telling Luis to keep pounding the strike zone,” Terrill said. “He didn’t walk anybody and he kept the pitch count [75, 50 for strikes] down. He threw strikes and he let the defense make the plays behind him. That’s all we could ask.”
Riverdale scored two unearned runs against Scales in the fourth to push the margin to 4-1. With one out, Zechariah McPhearson walked, Cook reached on a fielder’s choice in which Adante Rhodes, who had reached on a passed ball was erased at home then Matt Wildrick walked to load the bases. Mendez then followed with a two-run single to center that scored McPhearson and Cook.
Riverdale Baptist then padded its lead in the fifth by scoring three times against reliever Barry Buchwald, although only one of the runs was earned. Sergio Burgos reached on an error, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rhodes then Jon Lozada beat out an infield single then stole second. With the Panthers’ infield playing in, McPhearson slapped a sharp single past second that plated Burgos and Lozada.
Cook then followed with a single to center and took second on a throwing error by Stuart Read in center. With two on, Wildrick popped up to third then with Mendez batting McPhearson scored the Crusaders’ final run on a wild pitch before striking out looking with Cook at third.