Considering the roar that went up from the Potomac Falls baseball players after they made the last out Tuesday night in a 6-4 win at Woodgrove, you would have thought that it was a playoff victory and not a midseason Virginia AA Dulles District matchup.
But the Panthers had trailed 3-0 in the fourth inning. The win gave them sole possession of first place in the district. And it avenged a one-run loss to Woodgrove on March 20, Potomac Falls’s first setback on its home field since 2010.
So, yeah, there was a lot to shout about, even if Potomac Falls (13-2, 10-1) is seeking a fourth straight state tournament berth and Woodgrove (12-3, 9-2) is only a second-year program.
Panthers Coach Joe Terango, the program’s founder, framed the game in those terms, saying that if his players’ dream when they came to the school to play baseball was to compete in a meaningful game, then their dream was going to come true Tuesday night.
“We don’t like sharing first place with some team,” said Panthers senior catcher J.T. Page, whose squad has won 11 in a row. “So we want it by ourselves.”
“We owed it to them to come in here and beat them at their place,” said Potomac Falls senior right-hander Jackson Rogers, who notched 10 of his 12 strikeouts in the last four innings and issued no walks. “Having the success we’ve had in recent years, it felt like this was a bigger game than even it actually was . . . Definitely a grudge match.”
Rogers was the losing pitcher in that 2-1 game a month ago and his team fell behind again Tuesday night. Woodgrove sophomore right-hander Matt Jeffery gave up two unearned runs in four innings, and the plan was for him to stay in the game and pitch the fifth. But on a play at the plate in the bottom of the fourth, Jeffery got hit in the head, and the Wolverines removed him as a precaution.
Two Woodgrove relievers walked three batters in the fifth to aid the Panthers’ three-run inning, and a fourth Woodgrove pitcher threw the final two innings.
Potomac Falls junior third baseman Jared Goldberg had three hits. Junior Brandon Orbe knocked in two runs, one on a solo homer in the seventh that made it a two-run game. Senior second baseman Tyler Rice, and Page, also drove in runs for the Panthers, who had scored 53 runs in their four previous games.
Rogers retired the last nine batters in order after allowing an infield hit to start the fifth.
“You give Jackson Rogers a lead, and there’s no one better out there with the ball right now probably in the state of Virginia,” said Woodgrove Coach Brad Bauder, whose team’s 12 wins equals the total from its inaugural season.
“Being able to take one from their best pitcher early in the year, you know they wanted to take it right back from us.”