By Cam Huffman
What was supposed to be a pitchers duel turned into anything but Wednesday at Woodrow Wilson High School, but there was not shortage of drama in the Class AAA baseball showdown between No. 8 Woodrow Wilson and No. 5 George Washington.
In a game that included 22 runs, 27 hits and nine extra-base knocks, the Flying Eagles (11-3) dodged a seventh-inning bullet with a game-ending double play that went from third baseman Brent Osborne to catcher Dylan Foster and then back to first baseman Hunter Halstead just in time to beat the runner. The play, with the bases loaded with Patriots and only one out, allowed the home fans to breath a sigh of relief as Woodrow clinched a 12-10 victory on a chilly night at the ballpark.
“We showed a lot of character,” said Woodrow Wilson head coach Mark Daniel. “You have to win games like this. We had one early (in the season) that we let slip away, and maybe that experience helped us pull one out.
“It might come down to us and (GW) for the region. I hope it does.”
Trailing 12-9 going into the final frame, GW (10-7) put pressure on the home team with three singles, including one that was lost in the lights in left field, to leave the bases for Jeff Wong, who already had an RBI double in the game. But his sharply-hit ball was fielded perfectly by Osborne, who alertly threw home to start the twin-killing.
Both starting pitchers entered the game with plenty of accolades. Austin Henrich, the GW starter, had an ERA below 1.00 when the game began, while Josh Rakes had been nearly untouchable for the Flying Eagles. But neither had his best stuff.
Henrich left after just 2 2-3 innings, having allowed seven runs on four hits, three walks and two hit-batters. Rakes went 3 2-3 and left with his team in front, but he allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks.
“It turned into a slugfest,” said Daniel. “It just wasn’t the pitchers’ day.”
Both teams, though, did plenty of work with the bats.
Woodrow scored in every inning but one, including a five-run frame in the third that broke the game open.
An infield hit off the bat of Chris Metrick started the inning innocently enough, but after a walk and a hit-batsman, Henrich had the bases loaded with only one out.
Osborne brought in the inning’s first run when he grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, and when GW tried to turn a double-play, the throw to first went into the Woodrow dugout, allowing another run to score. Rakes then hit the hardest ball of the inning, a double to right that drove in another run and made the score 5-3.
Evan Gibson came on to pitch after another Henrich walk, and Jacoby Webb smoked a double to left that scored two more and gave the Flying Eagles a 7-3 lead.
The Patriots jumped right back in the game in the fourth, though, when junior Clayton Anderson smashed his first of two home runs, this one a three-run jack that stayed just inside the foul pole in right field. That bomb, and a walk that followed, chased Rakes and brought Brandon Chandler to the hill.
Chandler was able to get out of the inning, and the teams traded blows back and forth, with neither squad able to open up much of a cushion until the bottom of the sixth, when Chandler greatly helped his cause.
With Woodrow clinging to a 10-9 lead with the bases loaded and two outs, Chandler stepped to the plate against Anderson and smashed a double to left that brought in two more runs and gave the home team a 12-9 advantage heading to the final inning.
“I just saw a chance to score some runs and help myself out,” said Chandler. “That’s what I did.”
The insurance proved valuable, as Chandler gave up a run on an Anderson RBI single in the top of the seventh that pulled GW within two runs. But with the bases loaded, the sophomore got the ground ball he needed to get out of the jam.
“It was a great win,” said Chandler. “They are a good ball club all around.”
Chandler picked up the win on the hill, thanks in large part to his three RBIs. Webb was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Chris Metrick finished 3-for-5.
“Our lineup is getting to be pretty solid,” said Daniel. “I think we’re a one through nine hitting team.”
Anderson was the offensive hero for the Patriots, driving in five runs on a 4-for-5 effort that included the pair of homers. Garrett Vogelbach also left the yard, and Josh Petit finished 3-for-4.
“They’re a good hitting team, and they always are,” said Daniel. “They have a lot of juniors and seniors, and they were probably the best hitting team we’ve seen all year.”
Woodrow will be back in action today when it travels to Oak Hill for a 5 p.m. game. George Washington will host Logan on Friday.
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GW: 201 312 1 — 10 15 3
WW: 205 122 x — 12 12 2
GW: Austin Henrich, Evan Gibson (3), Clayton Anderson and Grant Wooten, WW: Josh Rakes, Brandon Chandler (4) and Dylan Foster. WP — Chandler. LP — Henrich. Hitting — GW: Austin Griffith 3-5, Garrett Vogelbach 1-5 (HR, 2 RBIs), Clayton Anderson 4-5 (2 HR, 5 RBIs), Josh Petit 3-4, Jeff Wong 1-2 (2B, RBI), Grant Wooten 2-4 (RBI), WW: Jacoby Webb 2-3 (2B, 2 RBIs), Brandon Chandler 1-4 (2B, 3 RBIs), Chris Metrick 3-5, Logan Wriston 2-4, Hunter Halstead 1-2 (RBI), Josh Rakes 1-2 (RBI), Brady Knapp 1-3.