Prep Baseball Report

Menders Sends Mountain View to First State Berth

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Stafford-A warm evening featured in a rematch from the 2015 5A North quarterfinals in the 2016 semifinals as No. 23 Mountain View hosted No. 24 Halifax County with a trip to the State Tournament at Robinson on the line. Mountain View won this game in 2015 in extra innings. The pitching matchup would be familiar as well, as both teams went with the same starter from last year’s game, which was played exactly one year ago. Halifax sent junior lefty Andrew Abbott (Virginia) to the mound and Mountain View went with senior Dylan Hall (Virginia Tech).

The story of the majority of this game was the two pitchers. The first five innings were a demonstration in total dominance by both Abbott and Hall. Through five innings, both had piled up nine strikeouts while only allowing two singles, and Abbott adding in a lone walk. Neither pitcher allowed a runner to pass second base and both offenses were overmatched early as the aces matched zeroes for the second year in a row. For velocities and scouting information on Hall and Abbott, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog later this week.

Halifax mounted their first real threat in the top of the sixth, as Abbott got hit by a pitch with one out. He was forced out at second on a bunt attempt by shortstop Jake Hughes. Hughes was able to steal second by was stranded there as Arthur Watts lined out to center to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nathan Neff (Concord) had a one out single to center, but was stranded there. The top of the seventh saw Halifax designated hitter Clay Lloyd rip a single to left to lead the inning off and his pinch runner was bunted down to second. Hall found another gear and struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.

Senior shortstop Jacob Pollock (Shippensburg) led the bottom of the seventh off with a double to right center, and he became the first runner to reach third base in the game after a sacrifice bunt. Abbott again was up to the task, getting a strikeout of and a fly out to right to end the seventh and leave Pollock stranded.

Hall worked a perfect eighth, and Abbott returned to the mound for the bottom half. He would only face one batter as the leadoff man got on with an error. The Comets went to the bullpen, bringing in Drew Harlow with the top of the order coming up. Harrison D’Antuono got his sacrifice down, but the pinch runner was thrown out at third trying to advance on a wild pitch, effectively ending the eighth.

Hall put an exclamation point on his final career home start with a perfect ninth inning, adding two more strikeouts to bring his total to thirteen. Harlow worked a perfect ninth as well and we continued on into the night.

The tenth saw a new pitcher take the mound for Mountain View as Pollock came in from shortstop to relieve Hall. He struck out the first batter he faced, but with one out senior centerfielder Kelonte Gutrich smashed a home run to leftfield for the game’s first run. Pollock responded by striking out the next two hitter, but as the game moved to the bottom of the tenth, Halifax led, 1-0. 

In the bottom of the tenth, Josh Menders ripped a line drive that struck Harlow, who deflected it towards the second baseman for the first out of the inning. Gryzmkowski worked a one out walk, bringing up senior second baseman Jacob Menders (Shippensburg). Menders lined a ball to deep left and out of the park to end the game and send Mountain View to the program’s first State Tournament trip with a 2-1 win.

For Halifax, Abbott threw 7+ IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 11 K. Harlow took the loss, throwing 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K. Lloyd went 1-3 and Gutrich went 2-4 with a home run.

For Mountain View, Hall threw 9 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, HBP, 13 K. Pollock got the win with 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 3 K while also going 1-3 with a BB, 2B, and SB at the plate. D’Antuono went 1-3 with a SB. Neff was 1-4. Gryzmkowski was 1-3 with a BB and a R. Jacob Menders went 1-4 with a R, 2 RBI, and a home run. The Wildcats will host conference rival Potomac Friday in the 5A North Regional Championship, and both teams will advance to the State Tournament the following weekend.


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