By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (May 15, 2015) – After a shaky start, Heritage junior Carsten Wahl relieved the Pride starter Brent Smith, throwing three pitches in the top of the first to strike out John Champe junior Michael Petrakes to end the Knights’ early rally. From there, the Pride offense took over and pinned the Knights against the Wahl as Heritage came back to defeat John Champe, 9-7.
“Give us some time we were going to snap out of it and get things going,” Heritage head coach Ryan Price said. “We faced this team several times, seen that arm before and knew we could get to him. We just needed to get the opportunities and get out of the first.”
And the opportunities came like wildfire in the fourth and fifth innings. John Champe starter Scott Schaffler sailed through his first three innings scattering four hits, but a leadoff single by Wahl in the fourth started a Pride rally which eventually forced the Knights to move to reliever Nick Able.
“We hit the fastball well tonight and didn’t get behind in counts where we’d struggle to hit breaking pitches,” Price said. “No high school kid does that very well.”
Able got his first out, facing his first batter, on a fly ball to deep right center by Pride sophomore Kyle Gotimer but struggled to locate after that. After a pair of walks and an error, Heritage junior Chad Koehler hit a two-RBI double down the left field line. Two batters later, Pride senior Ben Taylor followed suit with a two-RBI double of his own as Heritage took their first lead of the night, 9-6, which would prove to be enough support for Wahl.
“My arm was a little bit tired, but I just tried to let them hit the ball into play,” Wahl said. “I threw strikes and let my team back me up.”
In his 6.1 innings of work, Wahl forced two double play balls while rolling six other ground ball outs. The junior did struggle to get ahead of hitters in his first game back since some shoulder soreness, but was able to fight back and get outs.
“He certainly didn’t give a bunch of free passes,” Price said. “He was able to use his defense and get a bunch of groundballs to get out of innings.”
Wahl’s one earned run was scored by Petrakes who got the better part of the pitcher, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a run scored.
The loss moved John Champe to 12-7, but the Knights have already locked up the No. 2 seed in the Conference 28 tournament.
The non-conference win improved Heritage to 8-12. The No. 4 Pride host No. 5 Dominion High School on Tuesday, May 19 in the first round of the Conference 21 tournament.
“They have the weekend off with prom,” Price said. “We have to come back Monday, have a good practice and get back to the things we do well to be ready to face a solid Dominion team.”
Koehler 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI
Schaub 1-3, BB, R
Taylor, B. 2-2, 2B, 3B, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI
Howard, J. 1-3, 2B, sac bunt, 2 RBI
Lannes 1-1, RBI
Hughes 0-2, BB, R
Gotimer 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 SB
Keiper 0-3, BB, R
Wahl 1-3, ROE, BB, 2 R, 2 SB
Tyree 0-4, ROE, R
Ryan, M. 2-3, BB, R, RBI
Petrakes 2-3, BB, R
Martinez 0-3, sac bunt, R
Able 1-4, RBI
Schaffler 0-3, HBP, R
Kirila 2-4, R, RBI
Rogers 0-2, HBP, R
Newell 0-2, HBP, BB, RBI
Ryan, N. 1-2, HBP, ROE, R, RBI
Smith ND .2 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 HBP
Wahl W 6.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K
Schaffler ND 4 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 6 K
Able L 2 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Syracuse University where he earned a degree in broadcast and digital journalism. Before attending SU, Owen graduated from Heritage High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.