Casey, Prince George overtake Dinwiddie
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Mar 30, 2013, 12:57
Prince George sophomore Montae Bradshaw (left) slides safely back to first base as Dinwiddie junior Jimmy Meloy waits for a pickoff attempt from pitcher Jamar Hinton. The visiting Royals fell behind in the first inning but rallied to claim a 3-1 Central District victory on Wednesday in Dinwiddie (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
DINWIDDIE – Prince George pitcher Cody Casey watched as Jordan Nase fielded a groundball deep in the infield and delivered a prompt throw to first base that preempted Dinwiddie senior Austin Mostoller’s arrival by a fraction of a second.
When the umpire signaled for an out – the last of 21 in a sparkling defensive display – the Royals’ right-hander casually walked towards the visiting dugout with no evidence of Prince George’s 3-1 victory showing on his face.
Casey navigated his way through the rest of Dinwiddie’s talent-laden batting order with a similar business-like demeanor on Wednesday.
“I’m proud of how he kept his composure,” said Prince George coach Mickey Roberts. “He just pitched a great ball game, and he keeps getting better and better as we go. Hopefully he continues to do that.”
Casey struck out six, allowed four hits and limited his pitch count to 80 en route to his second complete-game win in as many starts. The victory gives the Royals an early leg up on the reigning-champion Generals in the Central District standings.
“It’s a long district season,” Roberts said. “But it doesn’t hurt having a win like this on the road this early in the year. It’s going to help us in the standings, but where it’s going to help us the most is with our confidence.”
Prince George junior Mark King (4) watches as a pitch narrowly misses the strike zone during a Central District game against Dinwiddie on Wednesday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
The Royals appeared to be sufficiently self-assured on this cloudy evening, overturning a 1-0 deficit with one run in the third and two in the fifth.
Dinwiddie opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Jimmy Meloy reached base on a walk, advanced to third on a single from starting pitcher Jamar Hinton and scored when Rashad Stewart lashed a stand-up double to center field.
The Generals were well-positioned to add to their early cushion, but Casey escaped the inning by picking Hinton off at third base and ringing up a four-pitch strikeout seconds later.
“That was excellent execution on the pick,” Roberts said. “We practice stuff like that. I always tell the guys, ‘Sooner or later, this is going to get us out of a big jam.’”
The Royals stranded two baserunners in the second frame but made the most of their one runner in the third. Brody Rotzoll trotted to first after being hit by a pitch and circled the bases to produce a 1-1 deadlock when the Generals misplayed Nase’s sacrifice bunt.
“We had opportunities to [make plays] and we didn’t,” said first-year Dinwiddie coach Cory Hale. “The mistakes we made tonight are the same mistakes we’ve made all year. We just haven’t managed to get away from them.”
Prince George turned two walks, a well-placed bunt and a timely hustle play into the decisive margin two innings later. With one out and the bases loaded, Mark King hit a groundball to the shortstop that had double play potential.
The Generals successfully secured the force out at second base, but King beat the throw to first. The fleet-footed shortstop’s inning-extending effort allowed Rotzoll and Brandon Casey to score from second and third, respectively.
“Mark King has good wheels,” Roberts said. “I knew we would be OK if he could just put the ball in play. He did, and we were able to get that run in and score another right behind it.
“We were aggressive on the bases because I knew we would have limited opportunities to score.”
Cody Casey took it from there.
The senior transfer from Thomas Dale needed only five pitches to garner three outs in the fifth and limited the Generals to two baserunners in the final three frames. Casey has conceded just one earned run and seven hits in two starts to date.
Roberts said he expected his first-choice pitcher to find success, but he admitted to being somewhat surprised by Casey’s red-hot start to the season. The veteran coach voiced similar satisfaction with 6-foot-4 freshman first baseman Jackson Rivera.
Hinton – who lasted five full innings on the mound – finished 2-for-3 at the plate, as did Stewart. Nase and Montae Bradshaw had singles for Prince George, who won without registering an extra-base hit.
With the victory, Prince George improved to 2-0 in district play, 3-0 on the season. Dinwiddie slipped to 1-1 (2-2) with the setback, which came one week after the Central Region’s southernmost team rallied to beat perennial powerhouse Hanover in the seventh inning.
PG: 001 020 0 – 3 4 2
Din: 100 000 0 – 1 4 2
Casey and Rotzell. Hinton, Stewart (6) and Hughes. W: Casey. L: Hinton.
Highlights: Mark King (PG) 0-3, 2 RBI; Jamar Hinton (D) 2-3; Rashad Stewart (D) 2-3, 2B, 2 SB.
Records: Prince George 3-0, 2-0 Central; Dinwiddie 2-2, 1-1.