Ashburn, Va. — When hitters hunt fastballs early, pitchers attack the zone, and fielders make routine plays, most baseball teams will be successful. Getting all three of those to come together on the same night can be challenging for high school baseball teams, but for a Heritage High School squad that was looking to avenge an early-season, 18-0 loss to Broad Run, they shined in all three facets of the game.
Heritage senior ace Nick Harris allowed just two hits over his seven innings of work while striking out nine to earn the win. Eight of the nine Heritage starters recorded a base hit and six of those starters scored a run. And while the Pride defense wasn’t as sure-handed as they would have liked, their blunders did not cost them as Harris did a great job limiting base runners.
When the final pitch was thrown, the Pride had completed what they had set out to do, earning an 11-1 win in their rematch with the Spartans on May 2 in Ashburn.
“That first game, they beat us by 18, and that kind of set us on a downward slope for a few games, so we’ve had this game circled since then,” Heritage head coach Tom Orrell said. “Now that we’re trending upwards, we wanted to show that we’ve improved and that we’re a much better team than we were the first time.”
The Pride did not wait to get things started as junior second baseman Luke Howard led off with a single before eventually scoring on a balk to put Heritage up 1-0 after the first.
“We’re a really big momentum team, so getting that going for us early on, you could really feel it in the dugout,” Orrell said. “And we also heard their dugout start to quiet down.”
Then Heritage added to that lead in the second when sophomore catcher Ryan Harrison led off the inning with a solo shot to left to extend the Pride’s lead to 2-0.
We’re a really big momentum team, so getting that going for us early on, you could really feel it in the dugout.
—Heritage head coach Tom Orrell
Heritage once again got their leadoff man on in the third as junior right fielder Landon Taylor singled to right. Junior third baseman Colin Shue moved Taylor to third with a single. Then Taylor scored on a throwing error before Harrison plated Shue with a 1-out double.
Three batters later, Heritage senior first baseman Kurt Amrein singled in Harrison’s courtesy runner Alec Jones, before the Pride turned the lineup over yet again as Howard walked to score freshman shortstop Owen Brundage.
Then again in the fourth, Heritage got its leadoff hitter on as Shue and then Harrison walked, setting up a 2-RBI double off the bat of junior centerfielder Jack Holland.
“We have 15 guys on the roster who are fighting for playing time,” Orrell said. “They’re all quality hitters, but it’s been tough to find 9 guys in a row who can hit for us. So getting this one tonight is really huge for our confidence.”
While the Pride offense got going, the cool, collected experience of senior ace Nick Harris shined through on the mound. Harris—who had allowed just four earned runs entering the contest—struck out five of the first six batters he faced and didn’t issue a free pass until the fourth when he walked his only Spartan of the night.
Broad Run got its one and only run of the game on a solo homer by senior designated hitter Jon Montagne in the bottom of the sixth.
“He’s been lights out for us every game,” Orrell said. “He just stays in the zone. He gives up that home run, and it doesn’t shake him. He just comes right back in the zone and right after everybody.”
Heritage (5-4, 7-6) has now won four of its last five as it looks to rally down the home stretch to earn a top-4 seed in the Dulles District tournament.
“My biggest goal every year is not to lose to the same team twice. So we’re in a good spot right now,” Orrell said. “Our arms seem to just be getting better and our offense is starting to follow our arms along. It feels like we’re peaking at the right time.”
Broad Run Batting
|Nick Harris (W)||7||2||1||1||1||9|
Broad Run Pitching
|Jon Montagne (L)||2.1||6||5||5||1||5|