Perhaps no pitcher in the Washington area is hotter than Reservoir senior Lee Lawler, who hurled his third shutout this season in a 2-0 victory over Glenelg on Monday that created a logjam atop the Howard County standings.
Lawler struck out 13, allowed two hits and walked one for the No. 9 Gators (10-1, 7-1 Howard), who have not lost since a season-opening 8-3 loss to Centennial. During its 10-game winning streak entering Wednesday’s game against Long Reach, Reservoir’s pitchers have thrown five shutouts and allowed a total of just 11 runs.
Lawler has led the way, going 4-0 with two saves and a 0.48 earned run average, with 44 strikeouts and just nine walks. Freshman Cody Morris is 3-1 with a 1.26 ERA and 33 strikeouts to three walks. Senior Bryan Davison is 3-0 with 1.00 ERA.
Reservoir, River Hill and Glenelg all have one loss each in league play.
“Last year we had [All-Met] T.J. [Pipik] and [Kyle] Alexander and Lee was a really good number three,” Reservoir Coach Adam Leader said. “He got a lot of good experience and also learned a lot from T.J. and Kyle. This year, he has really worked on his stuff. In the Glenelg game, he was lights out. He hit 88 on the [radar] gun. And Cody coming in as a freshman, [Lee] has been a really good role model for him, too.”
When No. 3 Chantilly scored several unanswered runs early in a game against Potomac (Va.) a couple of weeks ago, Chargers Coach Kevin Ford joked to an assistant that he was not sure how to coach a team that had a semi-comfortable lead.
It hasn’t happened often. When Chantilly scores, it’s usually late, and it happened again Tuesday night at Herndon when the Chargers pushed across a run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh in a 3-1 win.
Chantilly (10-2, 3-0 in the Virginia AAA Concorde District) can win late because it gives up so few runs, just 17 in the 10 victories, thanks in main part to senior pitchers Caleb Reinhardt, Tom Wood and Chris Fraser and sophomore pitcher Eason Recto. The team also boasts a skilled defense that features three new starters in the infield.
The Chargers’ three Concorde wins have been by a combined 10-6 score, and seven of the team’s past eight victories have been by one or two runs. Reinhardt pitched a complete game Tuesday and gave up no earned runs.
“The pitchers have been throwing strikes and making teams earn what they’ve gotten and they’ve gotten some help from our defense when things get tough,” Ford said. “[Defensively], I think it’s just a good attitude of going after balls and thinking ahead of what they’re going to do with it. We preach just making their play, and if they get the batter, they get the batter, and if they don’t, we’ll get the next one.”
Sophomore Tommy Vance tied the game at Herndon with a two-out single in the sixth. In the seventh, junior Sonny Romine and Recto singled to lead off the inning and senior Jake Acosta bunted each runner up a base. An errant pickoff throw at third allowed both to score.
Chantilly has not managed an extra-base hit in its last two games but is the only Concorde team with an unbeaten district record.
“It’s coming down to base to base and executing and getting guys in motion and trying to get yourself an extra base,” said Ford, whose team plays at Robinson on Friday. “Easily, all three of our [district] games could have gone the other way.
“It’s a little stressful in the coaching box sometimes, but it’s fun, it’s exciting, and the kids know it’s not over until the last out.”