Madison High baseball’s terrific postseason roll continued last Friday night, May 28 when the Warhawks, behind the stellar pitching of senior southpaw Matt Moore, defeated the Hayfield Hawks, 5-0. The first round Northern Region playoff game took place in front of a lively crowd at Madison High in Vienna.
Madison (15-7), which has won 12 of its past 14 games, including all three of its postseason affairs, was set to host Centreville High in a quarterfinals round game on Memorial Day.
Hayfield, the No. 4-seed from the National District, saw its season end with the loss to the Warhawks.
Madison, a second place finisher in the Liberty District during the regular season, reached the district tournament finals early last week where it upset top seed McLean, 4-1, on May 24. So the Warhawks had some big time momentum going into regionals.
“[Winning the district title] was a good team effort – all 26 of us,” said Madison senior left fielder Ted Turner, following the Warhawks’ win over Hayfield. “We’re really confident right now and think we’re playing our best baseball.”
Turner, a First Team All-Liberty District outfielder this spring, helped Madison get started fast in the victory over the Hawks with a first inning triple deep into center field and over the head of Hayfield junior Josh Eldridge, one of the top players in the region. The extra base hit, which gave Madison a 1-0 lead, plated TJ Ehrsam, Madison’s leadoff hitter who had opened the bottom half of the inning with a walk off of Hayfield starting pitcher Cory Spera.
“It was a first pitch fastball,” said Turner, of the triple. “There center fielder is really good. It surprised me [how far it went]. We definitely fed off of that first inning.”
Following Turner’s triple, clean-up hitter Scott Bernier, Madison’s senior third baseman, executed a perfect squeeze bunt which plated Turner to make it 2-0.
Madison would later add two more runs in the third inning and a single run in the fifth. All of that insurance was more than enough for Moore, the Madison starting pitcher who earned the win. Over 5-2/3 innings, the left-hander allowed no runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Madison coach Mark Gjormand elected to pull Moore with two down in the top of the sixth inning following a strikeout. Hayfield had runners on second and third at the time of Moore’s departure from the mound, but Madison reliever Dan Cate came in and got a groundball out to retire the side. Cate, a senior, went on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning, allowing just a single, to put the victory in the books for Madison.
<b>MOORE’S TOUGHEST</b> inning was likely the Hayfield first when he walked leadoff batter Andrew Zumwalt before allowing a groundball single into right field by the left-handed hitting Eldridge to put Hawk runners on first and second. Following a strikeout, Hayfield’s Justin Drechsel reached on an error to load the bases. But Moore buckled down with his second strikeout and a ground ball out to get Madison out of the inning unscathed.
“We worked out of it,” said Moore, of the first inning jam. “Maybe it was [early game] jitters.”
In the second inning, Hayfield’s Sam Stone singled into right field to begin things off for the Hawks. But Moore then picked him off. Later in the game, Stone knocked a two-out double in the fourth inning before Moore got out of the mini-jam with a strikeout to end the threat.
Overall, Moore came up big in a huge game.
“Most of my pitches were working,” said Moore. “I don’t think it was my best outing. What I knew was working for me was my defense.”
Indeed, the Warhawks played a solid game in the field. One error and a catchers’ interference call were about the only defensive snags for the home team. Madison’s best defensive play came in the third inning when freshman shortstop Andy McGuire, on a groundball hit up the middle by No. 3 Hayfield hitter Bryan DiRosario, showed excellent range in getting to the ball before rifling a throw to first base for the putout.
Madison’s offensive highlight in its two-run third inning was an opposite field RBI double down the right field line off the bat of Bernier, who also had an RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth inning and finished the night with three runs knocked in.
Hayfield’s Spera pitched all six innings for Hayfield, allowing just five hits. He fanned four, walked one and hit two batters.
Madison’s base hits came from Turner (triple), Bernier (double), senior
DH Ryan McGuire (single), Cate (single) and Nate Favero (single, run scored).
Hayfield’s base hits came from Stone (double, single), Zumwalt (single), Eldridge (single), DiRosario (single) and Dan Vega (double).
Turner said Madison had a good week of practice in the three days leading up to the region playoff game following the district title game win over McLean.
“We practiced hard all week and we played [against Hayfield] like it was a championship game,” said Turner. “We all did our best.”