Prep Baseball Report

Briar Woods Uses Big Sixth to Rally Past Freedom

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

South Riding-The threat of weather caused No. 24 Briar Woods and Freedom to move their game up a day, and the two teams squared off on an overcast Thursday evening. Freedom sent senior Michael Zubovich to the mound to start the game and the Falcons countered with junior Jack Jaekle.

After a scoreless top of the first inning, the Eagle offense came out firing in the bottom of the first. Sophomore leftfielder Kyle Schofield led the game off with a single to left center and he advanced to third when fellow sophomore second baseman Jonathan Fisher executed a hit and run with a base hit through the right side. After Zubovich grounded back to the mound, junior first baseman Mitchell Pfaff singled to right to drive in Schoefield. Sophomore third baseman Cameron Peacher then added an RBI single of his own. Freedom ended up picking up three runs in the inning to take the early 3-0 lead.

Zubovich tossed a perfect second and Jaekle settled in, working around two more hits to put up a zero of his own. Briar Woods came to the plate in the top of the third, still trailing 3-0. Sophomore catcher George Rosales started the inning off with a single up the middle, and his courtesy runner scored two batters later when senior leftfielder Gino Ventrice tripled down the rightfield line. Junior shortstop Jake Kleifges followed that with a single to left, driving in Ventrice and cutting the Freedom lead to 3-2. Zubovich was able to stop the bleeding there and end the third.

Jaekle gave up a leadoff single to Zubovich, but got out of the bottom of the third quickly with a nifty 1-6-3 double play. With one out in the top of the fourth, Falcon senior centerfielder Jacob Hand (Randolph Macon) singled to center and then stole second base. He was driven in later in the inning on a two-single by Rosales to tie the score at 3.

Jaekle continued his very good stretch in the middle of the game, working around a two-out double by sophomore catcher Jack Fitzgerald to send the game to the fifth inning, tied at 3. In the bottom of the fifth, Schofield led off with his third hit of the game and was quickly sacrificed to second by Fisher and moved to third on a Zubovich ground out to second base. That brought up Pfaff with two outs and he delivered with an RBI single to right center to give Freedom the lead back, 4-3, after five innings.

The top of the sixth saw Zubovich back out to work with a one run lead. Briar Woods’ senior third baseman Nathan Davis led the inning off with a single and stole second base. After Zubovich got the next two hitters out and issued a walk to Rosales, senior second baseman Zach Covert came to the plate with two outs and two runners in scoring position, courtesy of a passed ball. Covert delivered a two run single to left-center to give the Falcons their first lead of the game and end Zubovich’s night.

Freedom brought in senior lefty Bradley Lau (Penn State-Altoona) and Ventrice singled to welcome him to the game and drive in Covert, stretching the lead to 6-4. After Kleifges worked a walk, junior designated hitter Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest) blew the game open with a two run triple to right center. The inning eventually ended with Briar Woods scoring six runs opening up a 9-4 lead.

The Falcons brought in junior righty Sean Clark, who worked a quick sixth and seventh to lock up the win for the Falcons, who are now 7-1 on the season.

Jaekle earned the win with 5 IP, 4 R, 10 H, 0 BB, and 3 K. Clark went 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 K. Offensively for the Falcons, Ventrice went 3-5 with 2 RBI, 2 R, and a 3B. Davis went 2-4 with a 2B, a SB, and a run scored. Rosales went 2-3 with a BB, an RBI, and 2 R. Covert went 2-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored.

For Eagles, Zubovich took the loss and pitched much better than his final line, going 5 2/3 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 1 BB, and 6 K. Schoefield went 3-4 with two runs scored. Pfaff was 2-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Fitzgerald went 2-3 with a double.



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