Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sherwood gets jump on Richard Montgomery in first inning

Warriors advance in regional baseball playoffs; Sherwood beats Richard Montgomery 13-0

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When the players and coaches for the Sherwood and Richard Montgomery baseball squads awoke Saturday morning, the status of their make-up game from the day before was shrouded in uncertainty. But after a lot of hard work by Warriors coach Billy Goodman and his staff, the 4A West Region first-round contest was moved to Olney and started at 4 p.m. without a hitch.

To show their appreciation for that extra effort, Goodman’s squad made short work of the sixth-seeded Rockets, scoring seven runs in the first inning en route to a 13-0, five-inning victory and a spot in Tuesday’s 4A West quarterfinals against third-seeded Quince Orchard (12-4), which received a first-round bye.

Richard Montgomery finished an injury-plagued season at 7-10.

‘‘That was a good start, wasn’t it?” Goodman said. ‘‘I didn’t expect that because that was their ace. He held us in check for six innings last time. I didn’t know what to expect. We had been on the field all day and Todd was nice enough to come up here to get the game in. I hope we can keep the bats going on like that.”

In the regular season, the Warriors (11-5) and Rockets were tied at 2 heading into the seventh before Sherwood finally got to Michael Linkins. They wasted little time duplicating that late success Saturday, using six straight hits, a walk, an error and a sacrifice fly to open up the 7-0 advantage against the Rocket ace, who lasted just 2-plus innings.

John Wagner, Andrew Simone, Tommy Gilchrist, Adam Ginsburg, William Bouey, Chris Green and Tommy Barksdale reached base consecutively in the first inning, giving Sherwood six runs before an out was recorded.

‘‘You have to start out hitting the ball and getting runs early,” said Gilchrist, who finished with three hits and two runs to go with the two runs batted in. ‘‘A lot of games we’ve won, 8-7, it’s because we’ve had to come back. This win gives us a lot of confidence.”

Linkins settled down to work a 1-2-3 second inning, but Sherwood struck for six more runs in the third on five hits, a sacrifice fly and two errors to put the game away. Ginsburg capped the onslaught with a three-run home run to right-center field. Simone, Wagner and Nick Koutsos also knocked in runs in the inning.

‘‘It left the bat and I started off slow looking for the ball, just trying to find it,” Ginsburg said of his homer. ‘‘It didn’t get over by more than 15 feet. I thought it was going to hit the top of the fence. It just ended up going over so I’m pretty stoked about it. [Linkins] was throwing a lot of fastballs. He wasn’t throwing a lot of junk. I think we took advantage of that.”

On the other side, Bouey, who started his career with an 8-2 win against Quince Orchard the weekend before, threw three shutout innings. Richard Montgomery’s two hits were quickly erased: The first when Jeremy Oziel, triying to stretch a single into a double, was gunned down by Koutsos at second base; the second when Linkins singled and his courtesy runner was caught stealing.

Ted Fletcher closed out the final two innings, allowing just one hit. He struck out two.

‘‘Sherwood is used to being in this situation,” Rockets coach Todd Nutter said. ‘‘They’ve been a really good playoff team the last couple of years and Coach Goodman always does a good job of getting his team prepared. They did everything they needed to do. They were ready to go from the start.”