Things Come Into Focus for Rohr
Ryan Rohr's focus may not have been any better this season than it was Wednesday night before Stone Bridge's one-game playoff against Loudoun Valley to determine the Dulles District's regular season champion in baseball.
"I saw Ryan sitting in the bleachers at the gym before we ever left school [Wednesday], and I could tell he was zoned in," Stone Bridge Coach Sam Plank said. "He just had that look."
In the Bulldogs' 4-0 victory, Rohr (7-0) threw a two-hitter and lured 10 Viking batters into infield groundouts and seven more into hitting catchable fly balls. He walked only one batter.
Stone Bridge ran its district win streak to 12 games and clinched an automatic berth in the Region II playoffs.
Rohr's teammates helped his efforts with their performance at the plate, spreading six timely hits off Loudoun Valley junior Paul Holden (7-1).
The Bulldogs scored a run in the second on an RBI double by designated hitter James Timbers and again in the third on Adam Ventre's single. They then added two more in the sixth on an RBI triple by second baseman Landon Gouveia and an RBI single by third baseman Jeff Lee.
Stone Bridge, which started the season 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the district, has won 13 of its past 14 games.
"It means everything to us to have come back, fought back, the way that we have," Ventre said. "I wouldn't have wanted the regular season to end any other way."
Hartman Excels at Crunch Time
Potomac Falls junior left-hander Casey Hartman, less than a year removed from being a fresh face on a senior-laden baseball team, is the portrait of postseason experience for this year's Panthers.
He showed Friday night that he is back in top postseason form, striking out nine batters in a 12-5 victory over host Loudoun County in a Dulles District quarterfinal.
"Casey's pitched well this year, but his sophomore year was superlative," Panthers Coach Joe Terango said. " . . . I thought we saw the Casey Hartman of old [Friday]. We're proud of him."
Hartman was the frontline pitcher by the start of the playoffs a year ago, winning key games in the Dulles District, Region II and Virginia AA tournaments. He and the Panthers (11-10) have struggled at times this spring, but that was not the case Friday.
In the bottom of the fourth through the sixth inning, Loudoun County batters did not hit the ball out of the infield and were retired in order. Hartman was buoyed by a lead that came with two unearned runs in the top of the fourth, and then was able to pitch with comfort after Potomac Falls scored seven times -- six runs came across with two outs -- in the fifth.
Adam Sisson's single in the third gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead, and Sisson and Nick Price had back-to-back bloop singles to drive in a combined four runs in the fifth.
"The guys did everything behind me," Hartman said. "They talked, made plays and got hits. It was a total team effort."
Potomac Falls will now host regular season champion Stone Bridge at 4 p.m. Monday in the semifinals. Loudoun Valley and Broad Run will meet in the second game in Sterling.
"They know how far the team went last year," Hartman said. "And after tonight's game, they're excited."
-- ANGELA WATTS and DREW VANESSELSTYN