Manassas Journal Messenger | Valdez serves up a gem


For the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger

WOODBRIDGE ? There’s Meat Lover’s, Supreme, or even that fancy stuff with the cheese baked into the crust. And it’s all thanks to former Woodbridge resident Tommy Arko who had a little help from Cannons starting pitcher Edward Valdez in Potomac’s 5-0 victory over Frederick at Pfitzner Stadium last night.

So what’s it going to be?

Arko, who is the catcher for the Frederick Keys and played baseball at Lake Ridge Middle School before moving to Abilene, Texas in 1997, struck out three times, including with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and the Keys trailing by two runs.

He was dubbed the Pizza Hut K-Man for the game, where fans in different sections received two for one-coupon deals every time Arko struck out. As homecoming go, this one could have been a little warmer.

”I didn’t really mind it,” Arko said of supplying most of Prince William County with cheap pizza, ”but it’s definately more fun to be the K-Man and get a couple of hits.”

Arko, who was a third round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2000, came to Frederick on July 12 from class A Aberdeen. He’s hit only .190 since joining the Keys and is 0-for-5 in his homecoming series against the Cannons.

”It hasn’t been to pleasant so far,” Arko joked. ”I had about 15 people here tonight and hopefully I’ll start to play a little better for them.”

Arko wasn’t alone, though, in the Frederick (26-24) line-up Tuesday night in striking out. Valdez struck out nine in seven scoreless innings of work and helped the Cannons (23-27) to their fifth win in seven games.

William Bergolla, Junior Ruiz, Tony Blanco and Brian Peterson each had two hits for the Cannons, who pounded out 13 in the game.

”More important is that we did not make any errors,” Cannons manager Jayhawk Owens added. ”We are starting to play better as a team defensively and you add that with the pitching of late, then things are starting to go a little better.”

Blanco started things off with an RBI single in the first to go with Jeff Bannon’s run scoring fly ball to right field to put the Cannons up 2-0. Frederick starter Nick McCurdy kept the Cannons off the scoreboard for the remainder of his six innings after giving up two in the first, but the Keys bullpen was not as successful.

Potomac added three runs in the seventh off a two-RBI single from Bergolla and an RBI double from B.J. Hawes. Jan Granado pitched the final two innings for his first save.

”We’ve been more relaxed lately,” said Bannon, who went 1-for-3. ”I think getting two runs early on helped a lot in keeping us calm. Anytime the offense does that it helps you calm down.”

SCATTERED BLASTS: There were six former major leaguers at Pfitzner Stadium last night with Ken Griffey, Sr. (Reds Special Consultant to the General Manger), Tom Lawless (Keys manager), Scott McGregor (Keys pitching coach), Jayhawk Owens (Cannons manager), Andy Etcheberren (Orioles roving instructor) and Scott Sobkowiak (Cannons pitcher).

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