Baseball: Woodgrove Ace Christian Hile Wins Pitcher’s Duel Against Riverside

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Leesburg, Va. — When Woodgrove High School senior ace Christian Hile toed the rubber in the bottom half of the first, he knew we was in for a battle. Riverside High School senior leadoff hitter Michael Walsh made Hile earn every pitch of his first strike out of the night, fouling off four pitches in a row before going down looking on an upstairs breaking ball.

From there, Hile settled in striking out the side in the first—all looking—before cruising through the next six innings while striking out 11, as the Marshall University-commit picked up the complete game win, 4-1, over the Rams on May 12 in Leesburg.

“It’s easy when you have a team full of stars behind you, because you can pitch to contact,” Hile said. “It’s a great team win.”

Until the seventh, Hile pitched with a man on second or third just one time as Riverside sophomore left fielder KJ Johnson moved to second on a single by junior second baseman Stone Lasseigne in the fourth. Hile worked out of that jam by striking out the next two batters.

“He threw all three pitches for a strike, he didn’t walk hitters, and he made them earn everything,” Woodgrove head coach Rusty Smith said. “When he throws three pitches for a strike, he’s pretty good.”

On the flip side, Hile had a worthy adversary in ECU-commit Wyatt Shenkman, who matched Hile pretty much pitch for pitch through his five innings of work.

Woodgrove scratched two unearned runs across in the fourth inning, which would prove to be enough for Hile. With one out in the fourth, Hile reached on a dropped third strike then his courtesy runner David Rivera-Lopez quickly swiped second. Then Woodgrove senior first baseman JD Robinson hit a grounder to short, which was mishandled then thrown away allowing Rivera-Lopez to score. Two batters later, Woodgrove sophomore designated hitter Chris McCullers singled in Robinson to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead after the fourth.

In the sixth, Hile reached safely on a hard hit ball to second base. Rivera-Lopez entered as his courtesy and moved up two bags on wild pitches before Robinson singled him in, marking the end of Shenkman’s night. Two pitching changes later, Robinson scored the Wolverines’ fourth and final run of the night on another error by the Riverside defense.

“Wyatt’s pretty good, and he kept us off balance, but we just scrapped, we got base runners, and we forced the issue,” Smith said. “We scratched across four, and when Christian looks like that, four’s all he’ll probably need.”

Hile allowed his first and only run of the game with two outs in the seventh when a pop fly fell in front of the pitcher’s mound. With a three-run lead, Hile finished out his complete game with his 11th strikeout of the night as the Wolverines improved to 5-1 in the Potomac District.

“This is probably the closest group of seniors I’ve ever had here, and I have three of probably the best leaders I’ve ever had as well,” Smith said. “All they care about is winning; they don’t care about where they’re hitting in the lineup, they just want to win with their guys.”

Woodgrove is now halfway through their season, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the circumstances, Hile and co. are soaking in every memory.

“This is my family. I’ve been with these guys when I started playing when I was five years old,” Hile said. “It’s pretty fun to be able to come out here senior year and play one last season with these guys.”

Caroline Layne captured 300+ photos at the game!

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Woodgrove Batting
WoodgroveABHRBIRBBK
Nathan Favereaux400003
Michael Thomas300011
Tony Monastero310001
Christian Hile400001
JD Robinson421200
Zach Rice200001
Chris McCullers211001
Ty Edmondson200011
Riley Smith300000
David Rivera-Lopez000200
Aidan Landis000000
Totals2742429
Riverside Batting
RiversideABHRBIRBBK
Michael Walsh300001
Grant Sheets200001
KJ Johnson320000
Stone Lasseigne310001
Wyatt Shenkman300002
Nick Ferguson300002
Cavan McMeans310001
Vaughn McMeans300001
John Kramer300002
Mac Yarbrough000000
Ryan DeMartin010100
Ty Foglesong000000
Totals26501011
Woodgrove Pitching
WoodgroveIPHRERKBB
Christian Hile (W)7510110
Totals7510110
Riverside Pitching
RiversideIPHRERKBB
Wyatt Shenkman (L)5+34071
Mac Yarbrough.1+00011
Ryan DeMartin1.210010
Totals744092
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Owen Gotimer has a passion for helping people grow and self-educate through new media. Owen spent his college years at Syracuse University, where he studied broadcast and digital journalism in the renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications. In his "free time", Owen volunteers as a varsity baseball coach at John Champe and is the president of the Jeffrey C. Fowler Memorial Scholarship.

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