October 10 - Aditya Hari drove in five runs and struck out five batters over five innings as the Loudoun South Eagles beat the FCA White, 18-3, in the varsity Columbus Day Tournament championship last night at Westfield High School.
Hari, a lanky junior from Freedom-South Riding High School, surrendered a couple a runs early after a two-run double from Jayden Henson, however rebounded quickly and threw three consecutive scoreless innings. Hari allowed just two more hits after the first inning, four total in the game and did not walk a single batter.
“I was just trying to work in the zone,” Hari said. “I wanted to throw my fastball for strikes and finish them off with the curveball.”
“[Hari] has been one of those guys that we have asked to throw semifinal and championship games since last spring because he does a great job in that situation,” Eagles’ coach Kevin Healy said.
Hari also went 2-for-3 with five RBI and two runs scored at the plate. With the bases loaded in the third, Hari scored a pair of runs with a base hit to center field. He then came up with the bases full again and drove in another two runs with a double in the sixth.
“I was just looking for a pitch over the middle of the plate and try to drive it as far as I can,” Hari said. “We started off a little slow [this fall] but we have started to hit well and we are all starting to click on all cylinders.”
The game was tight through four innings with the Eagles holding a 5-2 lead. After FCA got a run on a double from Evan Witczak to trim the lead to two, the Eagles responded with five of their own in the fifth and then eight more as they batted around in the sixth.
Matt Walker, Devon Zavacky, Sean Kelsey and Danny Dornan all each recorded multiple RBI for the Eagles. The Eagles also capitalized on 14 walks and three errors as they had at least one base runner every inning.
“We got some walks and some big hits in key spots,” Healy said.
Brandon Egress pitched the seventh for the Eagles and allowed a hit and a walk but did not allow a run. Egress also had a good day at the plate, scoring all four times he reached base.
“The game got away from us,” FCA coach Mark Adams said. “We tell our guys the score is always 0-0 and you try to win the next inning. That’s how you play baseball.”
The Eagles received strong outings throughout the tournament from their entire pitching rotation to lead them to the championship game. On Sunday, Kelsey allowed just one run in a complete game effort to lead the Eagles past the Metro Senators, 7-1, in the semifinals.
“All throughout the tournament, our pitchers threw really well and anytime we needed to call on guys when the game got stretched out, they threw strikes,” Healy said. “[Hari, Egress and Kelsey] have really been throwing a lot of strikes and helping us out.”
“This is the first time we have gelled this season,” Adams said. “All season it has been up and down but playing in the tournament helped them focus and gave them something to play for. I really saw our team turn around in the tournament and the last three games our team has played really good baseball.”
Photo by Josh Belanger