Following an undefeated first five games of their summer league schedule, the 18U Falls Church Colts have been brought back down to earth in the past week, dropping three contests to fall to 5-5-1, with untimely errors as the primary culprit for the slide.
In Saturday’s doubleheader with the Annandale High School varsity franchise team and Thursday’s match-up with the Langley High franchise team, the Colts committed a combined 24 errors and allowed 38 runs.
The most recent contest pitted the Colts against Annandale at George Mason High School on Saturday. In the latter game of the doubleheader, the Colts fell 15-10 in a shootout, aided by a plethora of defensive blunders by both teams.
The Colts threw five pitchers in the game. The Annandale hitters peppered the ball throughout the afternoon, tallying 15 runs on 11 hits and eight Colts errors, leaving 10 runners stranded on base. Andrew Lieber led the offense, scoring two runs on one walk and one hit by pitch. Lieber leads the Colts with a .480 average and a .594 on base percentage as of Tuesday. Tyler Roth and Zack Glenn each had two hits and combined to drive in six batters. Centerfielder Mike Wolfe plated two runners and tallied two hits.
For the entire game, the top half of the order was relatively ineffective for the Colts, compared to the production of the latter four hitters of the lineup. Six through 10 hitters for Falls Church had seven of the 11 hits and had all of the RBIs. Even though the Colts exploded with four runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh frame, it was not enough to save them from the errors that had dug the team into a hole earlier in the contest.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Colts fell victim to a walk-off fielders’ choice in the seventh inning, propelling Annandale to a 9-8 victory. Quinn Casteel led off the game with a walk and was plated by a Lieber single, after which Mike Ward reached on an error and scored on a 2-run single by P.J. Anderson.
In the sixth inning, the Colts took advantage of Annandale’s defensive miscues when Lieber walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Roth single. Ward and Roth were plated by Wolfe five batters later. However, the Colts were unable to hold off a charge in the bottom half of the seventh, when Annandale scored two runs to capture the contest.
Carl Hollinger, a rising senior at Langley, went five innings and gave up six runs on four hits. After allowing four runs in the third inning, Hollinger settled down for the rest of his outing. Casteel entered in the sixth and took the loss, allowing three runs on just one hit.
The defensive woes for the Colts can be traced back to last Thursday, when Langley drubbed the Falls Church squad, 14-1.
Roth started on the hill for the Colts but ran into control problems in the third inning, when four Langley batters were plated thanks to three errors and a wild pitch. Even though Roth gave up only two earned runs, six errors behind him caused him to exit the game after the third.
Glenn came on and promptly retired the side in the fourth inning, but got tagged in the ensuing frame for three runs. All nine Langley batters came to the plate in the inning against Glenn, who was relieved in the sixth by Lieber.
The George Mason senior, making just his second pitching appearance in high school play since ninth grade, hurled the final two frames. It was a rough first outing for Lieber, who gave up five runs in the seventh on three hits and two sacrifice flies.
The Colts lone run came in the seventh when Ward walked and was plated two batters later by a Stephen Razzi single. As a team, the Colts were held to three hits by the three-pitcher rotation of Langley, whose defense only committed one error. A stark contrast, the Colts misplayed 10 balls on the night, sitting at .500 for the first time all season.