WOODBRIDGE — Baseball is a simple game and that was never more evident than during Monday’s clash between Woodbridge and Potomac in the second round of the Eddie Hope Tournament at Hylton High School.
The Vikings used a resourceful offense and stellar pitching from starter Justin Adame to beat the mistake-prone Panthers, 7-1, in round-robin play.
Woodbridge took advantage of eight errors, including six by shortstop Jake Cinnamon, to improve to 1-1 on the season.
On Tuesday, the Panthers (1-1) play West Springfield at 1 p.m. while Woodbridge takes on Forest Park at 10 a.m.
“The very first day you come out on the field, coach takes all the little kids out in left field and right field and line them up in two lines and they practice catching and throwing,” Potomac coach Mike Covington said. “That’s the first thing you learn playing this game, and if you can’t catch it and you can’t throw it, you can’t play.”
“They made a few errors here and there and at any level of baseball, that’s going to hurt you,” Woodbridge coach Frank Chimento said. “We got a few hits to score some runs too.”
The Vikings had just seven hits off Potomac starter Brad Dilliard but made most of them count. Todd Coder and Matt Westover started off the first with back-to-back singles and Coder came home from third on a botched double play attempt. Cinnamon’s relay throw back to first baseman Mike Tiller on a grounder to first by Ryan McCauley sailed past Tiller and off the fence by the Panthers’ dugout.
An infield hit by Sean Shanahan, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Adame, moved McCauley to second. After another error by Cinnamon loaded the bases, McCauley was forced out at home plate on a Steve Shanahan grounder to third base. However, Cinnamon’s third error of the inning on a ground ball by Steven Rodriguez plated Sean Shanahan.
After holding the Woodbridge offense in check in the second and third innings, Dilliard’s defense let him down again. Rodriguez led off the fourth inning with a grounder that second baseman Matt Rainbolt fielder cleanly but threw wildly to first. David Plant laid down a sacrifice bunt to Dilliard, advancing Rodriguez to second base. Another error by Cinnamon on a hot smash by Jason Breeden scored Rodriguez.
In the fifth, the Vikings blew the game open, getting two hits and taking advantage of three more Potomac errors, to score four runs. Sean Shanahan had an RBI double and Rodriguez added an RBI single in the fifth to close the book on Dilliard.
According to Chimento, Mon-day’s game was indicative of how the Vikings’ offense will work this year — minus slugger Joe McClain, who graduated last spring.
“I am not saying that we are not going to hit any home runs but we’re not going to hit probably nearly as many as we did last year,” Chimento said. “Maybe every once in awhile [we will], so we got to rely on base hits, guys scoring, stringing hits together and trying to move guys along.”
Defensively, Woodbridge did not commit an error and Adame was efficient, limiting the Panthers to just four hits while striking out three in six innings of work.
“I just did my job out there,” said Adame, who helped himself with two putouts on popups. “I let my team get ahead and I just kept it for them.”
“You’re not going to go out and strike out everybody, you can’t expect to,” Chimento said. “So you got to have your defense make plays. …This is his first outing of the year and it’s a little cold, but we’re very impressed with the way he started.”
Adame had given up just one hits in the first five innings but got into trouble in the sixth. He loaded the bases on three base hits and then walked Potomac’s only run in before recording two infield popouts to quell the Panthers’ rally.
“Towards the end of the game, I think he began to labor a little bit,” Chimento said. “He was getting near 100 pitches and the temperature dropping down, so that’s why we took him out in the last inning.”