Robinson 3, Hayfield 1
Robinson right-hander Spencer Wiggins did not look like a sophomore making his first varsity start against Hayfield last night. He was poised and polished, using a tricky curveball to limit the Hawks to two hits as the Rams prevailed, 3-1, in a Virginia AAA Patriot District game on a chilly night in Fairfax.
Wiggins's splendid pitching, however, was only one aspect of a sharp performance for Robinson. The Rams got timely hitting and aggressive base running from catcher Andrew Fritz, and an outstanding defensive play in the fifth to improve to 5-0, 3-0.
"My stuff was working for me tonight," said Wiggins, who efficiently mixed a modest fastball, change-up, slider and curveball. "And the defense played great behind me. They saved me a couple of times."
The turning point came in the top of the fifth, with Robinson clinging to a 2-1 edge. With two outs and a Hawks' runner on second base, Hayfield's Andy Heard lined a single over left fielder Kenny Lopez's head. But Lopez recovered quickly, threw a dead-on relay to shortstop Jeff Gregory, who spun and nailed the Hayfield runner at the plate.
Fritz applied the tag, but it was not his only contribution. The senior also went 2 for 3 with a run batted in and pair of runs scored. He scampered home on a wild pitch in the fourth and on a passed ball in the sixth for the Rams' third run. Wiggins (six strikeouts, one walk) took it from there.
"That was probably our most complete game," Fritz said. "Spencer threw a great game and smart decisions on the base paths got us a few runs."
Last night was a matchup between last season's top Patriot teams. Robinson clinched first place during the regular season and Hayfield (4-2, 2-2) captured the tournament championship. And considering the starts both teams are off, there is a good chance they will find themselves in a similar position later this season.
"Pitching and defense are going to be our strong points this season," Robinson Coach Bill Evers said. "Spencer was huge for us tonight. For him to throw the way he did, that really gives us some depth, especially come tournament time."
Robinson tied the score at 1 in the bottom of the fourth when senior Ben Reade scored from first on an double by Fritz.
"They took advantage of some small things," Hayfield Coach Mark Luther said. "And on a night like tonight, it was enough."