Cash McDade (left) drove in three runs on four hits while AJ Pritchard (right) earned the win after allowing one earned run over four innings. Photos by Josh Belanger.
Cash McDade drove in three runs on four hits while striking out five over the final two frames to help rally the Burke Bulldogs 12u past the Reston Warriors Red 12u, 16-3, yesterday in the first game of a doubleheader at the Bryce Harper All-Star Field Complex in Herndon.
The Warriors took an early 2-0 lead off Bulldogs starting pitcher AJ Pritchard in the first inning after an RBI from Tucker Wittkopf and an unearned run that allowed Adam Bryant to score. Pritchard settled in after allowing three consecutive hits to start his outing to keep the Bulldogs in the game, allowing three runs (one earned) over four innings.
Warriors starter Sean Wagner allowed just two hits the first time through the order, blanking the Bulldogs in the first three innings. In the fourth inning, Will Tighe executed a perfect hit-and-run play to drive Connor Doherty to third and spark an eight-run rally as the Bulldogs batted around. McDade, Dom Murad and Mariah Barksdale each drove in runs in the inning while Tristan Shaw cleared the bases with a two-run single to cap the rally.
“I think we made a good adjustment after the first time through the order, where they started to wait on the pitches and put good swings on the ball,” Bulldogs coach Mike Pritchard said. “It was contagious, one man got a hit and the next one and it kept going.”
The Bulldogs would score eight more runs over the final two frames on eight hits to put the game out of reach. Pritchard recorded three RBI in his final two at-bats while Murad and Barksdale each finished the game with a pair of hits and RBI. Six different Bulldogs had multiple hits as the bats appeared to come alive the second time through, with 15 of the 17 hits coming after the third inning.
McDade took the ball the for the Bulldogs in relief of Pritchard and was dominant utilizing a high velocity fastball and a nasty breaking pitch. The right-hander struck out the side in the fifth after allowing a lead-off single and then stranded a pair of runners in the sixth with a pair of strikeouts to end the game. Pritchard and McDade combined to walk just one batter in the game.
“I feel like I always have to rely on my curveball,” McDade said. “I think anyone can hit a fastball and not as many can hit a curveball, so I just try to rely on that pitch more. Our goal is to throw strikes and make them hit the ball and make our defense work.”
The Bulldogs’ offense again broke out in a big way in the second game, defeating the Warriors 16-7 to sweep both games of the doubleheader. Both teams will be in action again next Sunday with the Bulldogs squaring off against the Diamond Heroes while the Warriors will play the Loudoun South Eagles Black.