Vienna, Va. — For the Sliders of the Northern Virginia College League, it was just a matter of time. After dropping their first three games in the inaugural season of the NVCL, the Sliders have been on a tear—winning 5 of their last 6 games—showing no signs of slowing down after southpaw Brody Mack (William & Mary/Potomac Senior) tossed four scoreless innings and picked up the win in a 12-1 victory over the Yard Dogs on July 14 at Waters Field.
“We knew we had a good ball club. It was just a matter of getting to know them, getting to know each other,” Sliders head coach Rob Hahne said. “We feel like we have a pretty deep lineup, so for us, it’s a matter of throwing strikes and playing defense. Jumping on teams early is key for us.”
After a leadoff single, Sliders third baseman Ben Williamson (William & Mary/Freedom-South Riding) scored on a miscommunication by the Yard Dogs middle infield, giving his team a 1-0 lead. That lead gave Mack the space he’d need to pick apart the Yard Dogs’s lineup.
“Brody got healthy today just from a mental standpoint,” said Hahne, who is also the head coach at Westfield High School. “He hasn’t pitched as well as he would have liked up until today. He certainly showed what he can do. I certainly think it did help him with us getting an early lead.”
Over his four innings of work, Mack allowed just four hits, while striking out three and only allowed one baserunner to reach third base.
Offensively, the Sliders were led by Dominic Ragazzo (West Virginia/Salesianum (Del.)), who went 2-for-2 with two doubles, a sac fly, and four RBI.
Several Loudoun graduates also made a big impact on the Sliders’ run-scoring machine. Center fielder Tyler Casagrande (Arizona/Riverside) hit a two-RBI double and scored in the fourth; designated hitter Connor Baine (George Mason/Loudoun Valley) reached via hit by pitch and an error, scoring twice; and Williamson added his first-inning single and a pair of runs.
“It’s actually tough to make a lineup for all these teams because of all the talent,” Hahne said. “It’s pretty refreshing as a coach to just be able to write a lineup in and know they’re going to hit 1 through 10.”
For the Yard Dogs, shortstop Cortland Lawson (Tennessee/Dominion) went 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the fifth and left fielder Brendan Hall (Washington University St. Louis/Stone Bridge) added a pair of doubles and scored on Lawson’s single in the fifth.
In its first year, the NVCL is providing local high school graduates, who now play at the collegiate level, an opportunity to safely play baseball as the community continues to battle through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Comprised of eight teams, the league has brought together more than 150 players from more than 80 different colleges to compete at a high level of collegiate summer baseball.
“It’s had a really huge impact on the community, just being able to get outside, get active, and get moving around,” Hahne said. “There’s huge camaraderie that comes with sports.”