Max Lawson (left) and Mekhi Motilewa (right) launched back-to-back home runs in the first inning to lead the Riverdogs to a 7-5 win. Photos by Josh Belanger.
Max Lawson and Mekhi Motilewa launched back-to-back home runs in the first inning while Calin Burns pitched three scoreless innings in relief to lead the Potomac Riverdogs Blue 12u past the Fielder’s Choice Baseball 12u, 7-5, yesterday at William D. Parsell Field.
After FCB struck first with an RBI from Brady Catrow, Lawson hit the first pitch he saw over the right field fence for a two-run shot that was quickly followed by a solo home run from Motilewa to give the Riverdogs a lead they would not squander.
“Having Mekhi and Max in the middle of the lineup really makes us strong,” Riverdogs coach Denny Petrella said. “We have a really deep lineup with both those guys in the middle and they really get things going for us.”
The Riverdogs added another run in the second off FCB starter Dylan Frazier on an RBI from Jacob Drever, but that lead was then cut in half by the first of Ryan Kelly’s two home runs on the day.
Burns come on in relief of starter Sam Kretsch and proceeded to throw shutdown FCB's bats through three innings, culminating with three consecutive strikeouts in the fifth.
“What I love about Calin is he throws strikes. He comes in and pounds the zone and he gives us consistently,” Petrella said. “We love having an arm where we have the ability to bring him in at any point in the game and we know we are going to get a strong performance,”
Lawson delivered again in the fifth with an RBI double that scored Jackson Davis, who scored twice from the leadoff spot. Kretsch and Jake O’Donnell also had RBI in the inning to give the Riverdogs a 7-2 lead heading into the the sixth inning. All seven runs (six earned) were charged to Frazier, who recorded six strikeouts over five innings.
In the top of the sixth, Kelly stepped to the plate with two outs and hit a three-run home run to cut FCB's deficit to just two runs. Reliever Gage Strucko was able to keep his composure and retire the next batter as Motilewa recorded the final out. The shortstop made a number of stellar plays ranging to his left and right, including an unassisted double-play in the fourth.
“We talk about our defense all the time. When we are not hitting, we are going to win with our defense,” Petrella said. “We have some outstanding infielders and we have a great outfield too.”
The Riverdogs completed the sweep of the doubleheader with an 18-2 win in game two. FCB will be in action next on June 2 in a doubleheader against the Blue Ridge Titans while the Riverdogs' NVTBL spring season has concluded.