Manassas Journal Messenger | Cowan stabilizes Gar-Field’s hot corner
By BRIAN HUNSICKER and DAVE UTNIK
The Gar-Field softball team went to Myrtle Beach last week looking for a winning streak. They came back with something even better: a new third baseman.
Since Eboney Cowan rejoined the Indians lineup during spring break, Gar-Field has won six of seven games, including yesterday’s 6-1 victory over Woodbridge.
“She’s been hitting the ball well. Having her stick in the lineup is a real boost,” Gar-Field coach Mike McDonald said.
Cowan doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored twice against the Vikings as Gar-Field held onto second place in the Cardinal District.
The Indians’ batting order now features a 3-6 lineup of Sam Posey, Becky Horesky, Cowan and Katy Foster. Horesky, who started the season at third base, has moved back to first base, while freshman Mallorie Pellian is now being used as a designated hitter.
After defeating Osbourn Park on Tuesday, Gar-Field came up with four extra base hits against Woodbridge, including a two-run double by Foster. Sophomore Sarah Malene went 3 for 4 and freshman catcher Cat Jennings threw out two runners on steal attempts in support of Posey, who pitched a complete-game three-hitter.
Posey faced just 26 batters – five over the limit for a seven inning game – and finished with nine strikeouts.
BULLDOGS OFF TO STRONG START
Once again, Hylton’s baseball is off to a strong start. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given the Bulldogs’ status as one the area’s top programs.
But in winning 10 of their first 12 games, Hylton coach John Colantuoni has been surprised by some elements of the Bulldogs’ game.
“I felt we had good pitching, but we’ve been hitting the baseball. I didn’t think we’d be hitting over .300 as a team,” Colantuoni said. “We’ve gotten clutch hits.”
And when one player is having an off day, Colantuoni can expect others to pick up the slack. In Tuesday’s night’s 5-1 win over Potomac, Jorge Laboy – one of the Bulldog’s biggest offensive threats – went 0 for 4. But the hitters directly behind Laboy, John Bigley and Brian Ware-Colantuoni, combined for four hits and four RBI.
“These kids have been through the program for four years. They know how to win,” Colantuoni said, “but they’ve never had the opportunity. Kids like Brian and Michael Crutchman, they’re taking advantage of those situations.”
While their goal remains the same – getting into regionals – the Bulldog boss has a scary thought for the rest of the area.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet,” he said.
INDIANS ON A HOT STREAK
Gar-Field’s baseball team is 5-7, but they’re taking steps closer to .500 – thanks in large part to their pitching. Indian starters have been eating up more innings, allowing other pitchers to get more rest.
John Malene and Josh Smith “have been throwing very well,” said Indians coach Jay Burkhart.
Malene also has been putting pressure on opposing defenses – he’s 12 for 12 in stolen base attempts this season. Malene and Aaron Lotito have been on hot streaks offensively.
In the winning streak, the Indians won their last two games at the Glory Days Wooden Bat Tournament, and beat Osbourn Park on Tuesday.
“I think we’re appreciating the aluminum,” said Burkhart. He added that the teams has gotten back to simpler things – improving defense and scoring runs – and that has helped the players’ focus.
Brian Hunsicker covers baseball and Dave Utnik covers softball for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach them at (703) 878-8053.