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Baseball Playoff Preview

May 11, 2010
Thomas S Wootton High School

If it is true that good pitching can beat good hitting, then the Sherwood and Wootton baseball teams should be clear favorites when the 4A West Region playoffs begin Friday.

Of the contenders, the Warriors and Patriots appear to have the most quality depth on the mound.

4A West

The third-ranked Patriots (16-1) boast a pitching staff that held a 2.13 earned-run average through the weekend, largely through the performances of Max Simon (5-1, 1.65 ERA), Alex Hindman (5-0, 0.66) and Mark Brown (2-0, 1.98).

Will Bouey (4-1, 2.20) and Jamie Detjer (4-1, 1.29) form a potent one-two combination for the Warriors. Detjer pitched a complete-game shutout of Wootton earlier this season. Nathan Craft has done well in relief, with a 2-1 record and four saves in eight appearances.

Of the two squads, Wootton is the more complete team with a potent offensive attack (.354 average, 15 HR). Alex Kelly (.415, 19 RBI), Peter Spriopoulos (.432, 18 RBI) and Simon (.435, 18 RBI) lead the way at the plate. Sherwood had a team batting average of .267 through Sunday.

Like Wootton, Walter Johnson also has a good balance of explosive offense (.313) and stingy pitching (1.36 ERA) behind the play of Robin Mowat (3-1, 1.17 ERA, 2 saves), Mac Gill (.455, 12 RBI, 3-1, 1.83) and Carson Kenney (.500, 20 RBI).

The Wildcats, however, have struggled somewhat against the better teams in the county, falling to Gaithersburg, Wootton and Whitman while defeating Sherwood.

Gaithersburg and Whitman each has depth on the mound, as well. Nick Riley (5-2, 1.45 ERA, 59 strikeouts) anchors a Trojans staff that held a 2.83 ERA through Sunday.

Ross Olchyk (4-1, 1.47) and Ryan McGill (3-0, 0.98) sit atop a Whitman staff that is allowing about three runs per contest. The team's Achilles' heel has been an anemic offense, despite the performance of Michael Flack (.548, four HR, 19 RBI).

The same could be said for Paint Branch (7-7), which sandwiched losses of 10-0 to Sherwood and 6-4 to Clarksburg around three straight wins in its last five games. Colin Cox (4-2, 2.25) was the team's lone pitcher with significant innings to post a sub-4.00 ERA, but the squad had a .310 batting average and seven home runs.

Conversely, Churchill (11-5) has been rolling, winning six straight games (through Sunday) following an 8-1 loss to Wootton on March 24. First-year coach Scott Blackwood boasts a solid crew led by Bryce Shemer (.500, 18 RBI, 5-0, 2.62 ERA) and Harris Fanaroff (.525, 25 RBI).

Bethesda-Chevy Chase (6-9), Blair (5-12), Northwest (7-9), Richard Montgomery (3-12) and Springbrook (0-14) will look to rebound from tough regular seasons in time to make a run in the playoffs.

3A West

Blake (11-4) and Quince Orchard (13-5) look to be the class of the 3A West Region, but do not count out Damascus (10-5). The Swarmin' Hornets played both of the favorites tough earlier this season in losses, and both the Bengals and Cougars have faltered somewhat lately.

Blake, which dropped games against Blair and Poolesville recently, and Quince Orchard, which lost twice last week, have solid lineups. But after respective aces Tommy Cunningham (4-1, 2.80) and Brett Sliwiak (6-1), the teams have struggled on the mound.

Damascus has been erratic at times as well, including losing twice last week. But the Hornets can hit the ball and boast West Virginia University-bound Ryan McGuigan, who has five home runs this season.

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