The Potomac Falls High baseball team is off to a strong 4-1 start this season, thanks in large part to stellar pitching from its top starters.
The Panthers, the defending champions of the Dulles District, have wins over Manassas Park, Heritage and Loudoun County. The loss came to Musselman High (Inwood, West Va.).
Potomac Falls starting pitchers Jacob Kline and Mike Detaranto both carried 2-0 records going into this week.
"They work ahead in counts and throw a lot of strikes," said Potomac Falls coach Joe Terango, of the pitching duo. "Both of them have three pitches— a fastball, curve and change-up."
Offensively, Terango said his team has been a bit sporadic.
"We’ve struggled at certain points driving in runs, but other times we’ve been hitting them all in," he said. "It’s kind of hit or miss."
In the district win over Heritage, 5-4 in eight innings, the Panthers stranded nine runners but still were victorious.
The team’s top hitters thus far have been first baseman Aaron Sweger, the District Player of the Year in 2007 who is hitting at a .600 clip through five games, and third baseman Rob Malan (.500). Junior catcher Mike Spring, meanwhile, has knocked in 11 runs from his No. 5 position in the batting line-up.
<b>THE PANTHERS</b> have played several exciting games this spring. In the loss to Musselman, Potomac Falls trailed early, 4-0, before rallying to take a 6-4 lead. Musselman, however, surged ahead, 11-6, before Potomac Falls nearly tied the score in its final at-bats with a four-run bottom of the seventh. Malan belted a three-run homer during the four-run inning.
In the win over Heritage, Potomac Falls tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI single by senior Patrick Nightingale to force extra innings. Then, in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 4-4 game, Potomac Falls leadoff hitter Greg Woodlief, a junior, started things off with a bunt single. Eventually, Woodlief scored the winning run from third base on a sacrifice fly by Malan.
Woodlief is one of the area’s best defensive shortstops and is a steady leadoff hitter.
"He makes all the plays at shortstop," said Terango. "[At the plate] he has a good eye, [earns] walks and gets leadoff bunts."
Another key player for the Panthers has been junior Chad McMichael, who has played an outstanding left field for Potomac Falls.
The Panthers, who are 2-0 in district play along with Broad Run and Dominion, were set to have a busy district schedule this week. Potomac Falls was scheduled to play a make-up game against visiting Park View on Monday before playing road games at Dominion and Freedom later in the week.