More than most teams in most seasons, Robinson is preaching taking care of the little things. Yes, players on all teams say it, but the Rams have a resolve about them when discussing it.
“We’re going to win the simple game,” senior George Watkins said Friday night after he drove in two runs in his team’s 7-3 home win over Westfield. “Base hits, singles, right side, throwing strikes, first pitch ahead. Little stuff. And add it all up and the results will take care of itself.”
“If we don’t keep the little things together, the big things don’t fall into place,” junior Zach Beck said. “Keeping our energy up — that’s a big thing for us. We tend to get down.”
More often than not it has been an up season for the Rams (7-4, 1-1), the defending Virginia AAA Concorde District champions. Against Westfield (6-6, 1-1), three pitchers — junior Chris Lohr, senior Collin Holston and freshman Tyler Jumper — combined on a five-hitter.
Lohr likely would have pitched longer than his four-inning stint but had gone so deep in so many counts that he was up to 95 pitches by that point. But the Rams gave him and the two relievers plenty of support.
Beck, senior Garrett Velasquez and Lohr each had two hits. The top five Robinson batters in the order all drove in at least one run.
“In this game, if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves,” Robinson Coach John James said. “We’ve got the capabilities to do big things, but we’ve got to tighten up on some of the small things. If we are able to focus on the moment, then we can be pretty good.”
Westfield allowed two catchable balls to fall in during the bottom of the first inning, one in deep left and the other amid three Bulldogs in shallow right field. That enabled Robinson to take a 2-0 lead. More concerning though were six called third strikes.
“To me, the worst thing you can possibly do as a hitter is have a looking strikeout,” Westfield Coach Chuck Welch said. “We’re very young. You have to be a little careful handling them. But they’re hard workers and they battle in their own way. We just need to teach them how to battle a little differently.”
Every win is meaningful in the Concorde, but on the other hand, the teams are so evenly matched that the standings might not matter all that much come tournament time. At one point last year, 12 of 21 games were decided by one run and four more by two.
“We expect a tight race all year,” James said. “That’s just kind of the way that this district always works out. We’re prepared for that.”
Robinson on Friday night dedicated its softball field to former Rams softball coach Barry Gorodnick, a 1983 Robinson graduate who coached the sport at his alma mater for 24 years. He died last May of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The baseball team broke their huddle with a “Coach G!” chant.