WOODBRIDGE — These are the kind of wins Cannons manager Jayhawk Owens would like to see more often. And if Potomac is to have any chance at a second-half Carolina League title – or even a wild card berth — he’ll need to see them more often.
Pitching, defense and offense all had a hand in Monday night’s 6-1 win over the Frederick Keys, though none outshown any of the others.
The offense came in spurts, not one giant splurge. A run here, two there, and three later; all the scoring coming on timely hitting. In the three-run sixth that put the game away, William Bergolla hit a one-out double, and after Junior Ruiz was intentionally walked, Brad Correll drove both in with another double. Correll later scored on a single by Tony Blanco.
“That’s what I like ? you’re constantly putting yourself in position to get RBIs,” said Owens. “We had a lot of walks, and though we probably had a high number left on base (12), when you do that and score, your offense is getting scoring opportunities.”
Potomac chased Frederick starter Kurt Birkins from the game in the fourth inning after he gave up three runs on seven hits. The final batter Birkins faced, Correll, walked. The final two pitches of the at-bat were far enough to force Keys catcher Tommy Arko to stretch to his right.
Cannons starter Phil Dumatrait handled the pitching, and handled it well. He threw eight innings of one-run ball, giving up four hits and striking out five on 95 pitches. His lone mistake was a first-pitch changeup to Frederick’s Omar Rogers, who led off the seventh with a home run. That accounted for the only run of the game for Frederick (27-22).
The defense, inextricably linked to pitching, was solid as well. The Cannons (22-27) turned four double plays in the contest, primarily because Dumatrait (3-0) forced Keys hitters into hitting ground balls.
In fact, Dumatrait — who came to the Reds organization in the trade that sent Scott Williamson to Boston ? was known as the ‘double-play machine’ while pitching for Sarasota in the Florida State League.
“When you execute your pitches and get a lot of ground balls, that results in double plays,” Dumatrait said.
“The most I’ve seen in a game is six,” said Owens. “Anytime you get four double plays, your pitching is good, and you’re also executing on defense.”
The Cannons took the lead in the third on a sac fly by Blanco that scored Ruiz. An inning later, the Cannons added two more in the unlikeliest of rallies: BJ Hawes swung at a ball inside and in the dirt for strike three. But Arko couldn’t hold on to the pitch, and Hawes trotted down to first base. Chris Williamson, on second by a double, moved up to third.
Two batters later, Ruiz hit an infield single that scored both Hawes and Williamson.
Dumatrait’s start on Monday was better than his previous two with the Cannons, even though both resulted in wins. In victories over Winston-Salem and Lynchburg, Dumatrait allowed nine earned runs and 13 hits in 11 innings. During his time in Sarasota, he was 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA.
“In my first start, I was nervous, coming to a new organization,” he said. “In the fourth inning, I made two mistakes and that cost me six runs. Tonight I executed my pitches, hit my spots and mixed it up well with my offspeed stuff. I kept the hitters off-balance.”
SCATTERED BLASTS: The newest member of the Cannons, Scott Sobkowiak, has a history in the Carolina League. Sobkowiak, a 25-year-old righthander, signed with the Reds on Aug. 8. Prior to signing with the Reds, Sobkowiak had spent the season with Rockport of the independent Frontier League. Last year, he was with the Braves and made it as high as AAA, pitching with Richmond. The signing of Sobkowiak helps offset the loss of pitcher Bobby Basham, who was placed on the DL Aug. 3.