Smart baserunning might get you an extra base, maybe an extra run. But dumb baserunning will kill rallies and cost runs.
Such was the case in the second inning last night in Woodbridge. It began with the No. 7 man in the lineup, Jose Lozada, leading off with a single and getting caught stealing. A calculated risk, given that the nos. 8 and 9 batters were up next. After both men singled, Steve Lombardozzi drew a walk to load the bases.
With one out, Will Ortiz lifted a foul fly to medium-shallow right, with the rightfielder, second baseman and first baseman converging. Nick Moresi wisely saw that perhaps an infielder would get to it and tagged up from third. When the rightfielder caught it (read: facing towards home plate, with forward momentum), Moresi unwisely started toward home. Though he only made it down the line about twenty feet, it was enough for two strong throws to catch him in a rundown for the inning-ending double play.
It was that kind of night for Potomac. Though in the end it was only eight men stranded on the night, five of those came in the first two innings. The lost chances wasted another fine effort by Danny Rosenbaum, who pitched five innings and allowed just one run on three hits and two walks.
But it could have been worse. The picture above captures the moment that made the crowd gasp and then roar with approval.
With a runner on first, and two outs in the fifth, Xavier Avery launched a rocket to right-center field. Chris Curran read it perfectly and took off on a dead run. And then he leapt, his body seemingly parallel to the ground, his left arm stretched out ahead him at a 45-degree angle. It was do or die, because Avery is a triple waiting to happen when outfielders are on their feet, never mind on the ground.
After sliding headfirst on the warning track, Curran rolled over and pointed his glove to the sky. Inning over. He did.
Curran would lead off the next inning — because that’s how the baseball gods roll — and come around to score on a two-out single by Ortiz, tying the game at 1-1.
Unfortunately, things fell apart after that. Frederick got the run back the very next inning to go back up by one at 2-1. They extended to 4-1 with two in the top of the 8th and added another in the ninth for the final score of 5-1. Potomac managed only two leadoff singles in the final four innings.
With the loss, Potomac missed a chance to reclaim first place and remains one game back of Wilmington in the Northern Division. They have an off day today before embarking on a seven-game roadtrip against Lynchburg for three games and Myrtle Beach for four games before returning home next Monday.