Strong Pitching, Veteran Hitting Leads W-L

Strong Pitching, Veteran Hitting Leads W-L

Generals expect to contend for National District title.

Washington-Lee senior pitcher Austin Evans allowed a single to the first batter he faced during a March 22 game against Mount Vernon.

He was unhittable the rest of the way.

Evans tossed a five-inning, one-hit shutout against the Majors and W-L earned its first win of the season, 11-0. Evans’ performance, which included needing only 62 pitches, came shortly after a strong effort in the season opener against McLean.

"Austin, he pitched five no-hit innings against McLean the other night and pitched five innings tonight," W-L head coach Doug Grove said. "Sixty-two pitches: you can’t ask for more."

Evans, and seniors Oliver Cross and Ben Coffman figure to carry the pitching load for W-L in 2011. Coffman, however, will be brought along slowly due to arm trouble.

"Our pitching," Grove said, "has been unbelievable."

Offensively, Coffman, a first-team all-National District selection last season, senior outfielder Charlie Vitale and senior catcher Ryan Dickt return to lead the Generals.

Coffman is a standout in the middle of the W-L batting order.

"He’s got a lot of raw power," Grove said. "He can hit a ball as far as anybody I’ve seen and we’ve had some good hitters."

From a leadership standpoint, Coffman said Grove allows players to police themselves in some areas.

"Coach Grove leaves it to us to get on the guys who aren’t hustling," Coffman said. "We try to keep the bench up. That’s our role as players — to keep everybody up."

Vitale, a three-year starter, hit leadoff against the Majors, but could move down into the middle of the order later in the season. Vitale recorded four hits against Mount Vernon, including a run-scoring triple off the wall in right-center field.

Dickt batted fourth against Mount Vernon and had three hits, including a run-scoring double in the first inning.

W-L opened the season with losses to McLean and Langley before beating Mount Vernon. Since then, the Generals lost to Robinson, but defeated Wakefield to improve to 2-0 in the National District. The Generals will travel to face Edison at 6 p.m. on March 30.

"Our expectations," Grove said, "are to always compete for the district championship."