April 23 - Eric Fila and Nick Griffin each blasted solo home runs to lead the Mount Vernon Patriots Maroon 12u over the Koa 12u, 13-2, yesterday in the first game of a doubleheader at McNaughton Field Complex in Alexandria.
Fila drove in Jack Bacon for the Patriots first run of the game with a single in the first inning and later scored on a dropped third strike. The Patriots scored two more runs in the second on RBI from Charlie Bounds and Gregory Carosi, capitalizing on three stolen bases. The Patriots finished the game with 10 stolen bases.
“The two things we have worked on in the last couple of weeks is getting our pitch and hitting it as hard as we can and running the bases aggressively,” Patriots coach Greg Grehawick said. “We have never run the base as well as we ran the bases today.”
Koa cut the Patriots lead in half with two runs off Patriots starter Paul Simonik in the top of the third inning as James Haas and Kanen Kreafle each drove in a run. Simonik pitched three innings, allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
“They did a great job throwing off speed pitches and we sometimes struggled,” Koa coach Mark Brown said. “I told them that I want to see them attack the fastballs early in the count and be more aggressive.”
In the bottom half, Fila lead off the inning with a solo shot to center field to extend the Patriots lead to 5-2.
“He had two strikes on me and he just gave me low pitch and I scooped it up,” Fila said. “At first I thought it was just going to be a long fly ball to the center fielder but it got out.”
The Patriots would score four more runs in fourth inning, scoring twice on pass balls and getting a pair of unearned runs. Griffin sparked another four run rally in the fifth with a home run to left field.
“The pitch I got was an inside pitch and that is my favorite pitch,” Griffin said. “I was in a 2-1 count so I was just looking to hit the ball hard.”
Patriots reliever Jake Heller entered the game in the fourth and would not allow a hit in three scoreless innings for the Patriots. In the seventh, Carosi made a pair of diving catches to help Heller close out the game.
The Patriots outhit Koa 13-to-3 and scored a run in every inning as Bounds and Elias McGavin each crossed the plate three times for the Patriots. Left-hander Caleb Kasten started on the mound for Koa and allowed five runs in three innings. Haas came on in relief in the fourth inning and allowed six earned runs in two innings.
In the second game, Heller and Alex Grehawick each drove in a pair of runs to power the Patriots to a 12-3 win, sweeping Koa in the twin bill.
Koa will play next against the Alexandria Aces Navy 12u in a doubleheader at Wheaton Regional Park on Sunday while the Patriots will be in NVTBL action next against the Fauquier Freeze 12u at Fauquier High School on May 6.
Left to Right: Eric Fila hit a home run and Jake Heller pitched three scoreless innings to lead the Mount Vernon Patriots past Koa, 13-2, at McNaughton Field Complex. Photos by Josh Belanger.