Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Rick Hague helps send a crowd of 5,000+ home happy for the first win of ’11

The 2011 edition of Potomac Nationals is apparently aware that walkoff wins on Sunday afternoon are a new tradition in Woodbridge, as Rick Hague doubled over the centerfielder’s head with two outs in the bottom of the tenth for a 7-6 win.

The double was Hague’s second hit and second RBI of the game, as the P-Nats pummeled Hillcats pitchers for 13 on the afternoon, with every batter getting a hit and four batters getting two, highlighted by Steve Souza’s second home run in as many days (and at-bats) with a solo shot in the second inning. Souza would also collect two RBI on the afternoon.

It made a winner out of Pat Lehman who misplayed a sacrifice bunt inthe 9th into a hit after a leadoff single and lost a valiant battle to Lynchburg’s Rick Gosselin after another sacrifice set up a 2nd-and-3rd with one out as the Hillcat DH chopped a grounder to Souza for an RBI groundout.

Lehman pitched a scoreless tenth, surviving an error that Brian Peacock erased by throwing out pinchrunner-turned-OF L.V. Ware for the second time in the game.

Trevor Holder pitched the first six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, but three of those went for extra bases, including a two-run blast to LF that would have been out most parks (except maybe Yellowstone). It’s a pattern that persists from last August-September: when his pitches are up in the zone, hitters will make him pay.

Like Souza and Hague, King and J.P. Ramirez also notched two hits to take the edge off both having an 0-for-4, 2K line in the boxscore last night. King did commit the 10th-inning error, but it was hardly a black mark after notching nine assists and snaring a line drive in the ten previous chances over two games. Similarly, Steve Souza’s transition across the diamond has been a success, as the 21-year-old has simply made all the plays and looked smooth.

With the win, the P-Nats split the series and play host to the Winston-Salem for the next three, the first meeting between the two 2010 Mills Cup finalists.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

21 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge”

  1. I understand that Eury Perez’s speed has been impressing the announcers at the Pfitz. What’s been your take of him so far?

    Holder continues to frustrate me. He seems old for the level and he’s not really impressing at the level. He seems on the path to get kind of Hail Mary at AA, but what is he projecting to at this point within the organization?

    I really underrated Souza’s potential so far. Is this real? Maybe I underestimated him because he’s a high schooler, but it sure sounds like he’s off to a good start.

    Hague made another error, right? If his defense hasn’t improved much with an offseason where he needed to work on it, that’s certainly a concern that might limit him.

    Awesome work as usual. Really hope I swing a visit down to the Pfitz sooner rather than later.

    1. Eury’s stolen four bases but at least two of them a decent throw would have gotten him. I need to see him against another set of catchers. The infield has been muddy with the rain. He’s been okay in center but I’ve yet to see him really jet to a ball. So far, I don’t think he’s as fast as Whiting, which is not a knock because Boomer is about as fast as they come in baseball.

      Holder, like Morris, has to live in the bottom third of the zone to succeed. He simply doesn’t have blow-it-by-you stuff. BA says he might be better off in the bullpen and 2-3 more starts like this one, I’d have to agree.

      The error yesterday was on King. Hague has showed some good hustle and covered a lot of ground, but not in a Desmond way, iykwim.

      If I’m Joe SixPack, I look at Souza after two games and think he’s a big, young kid that moves well in the field and can hit for some pop. He turns 22 in a couple of weeks, so he’s not “too old for the level.”

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I look at the stats mostly and listen to the announcers and they are just gushing over Perez. Nice to have an alternate perspective.

        I’ve been bearish on Holder for awhile. Does he really have enough stuff to make it as a fly ball pitcher from the bullpen?

        1. The comparison to Morris is two-fold. One, ideally they’re both sinker/cutter/slider-types that induce grounders when they’re on, flyballs when they’re not. Two, given the freedom to throw harder, perhaps even abandon a pitch, Holder could achieve a little more velocity.

          When we have a larger sample size, I can start to look for the other common pattern for starters that might benefit from a shift — guys that consistently get through the lineup the first time and frequently struggle in the second pass.

          And let’s face it: If I were really sure I knew, then I probably ought to stop doing this for free 😉

  2. From the get-go Holder seemed to be a sign ability pick, and related to Strasburg’s high price. I remember the experts were surprised he went so high, that Morris, who was picked later was much better. I have never seen him as a major leaguer, at least not one of any import. But then, I’m definitely not one of those experts.

  3. I remember over the winter, in an interview, Doug Harris, the minor league coordinator, was raving about how good Souza’s defense was. I’m pretty sure I posted it here, but if his offense was the question mark, then he has a pretty bright future.

    Folks, we may have ourselves a winner here.

    Sue, as always, your eyewitness scouting carries the most weight.

  4. When I heard Souza was moved to 1st, I thought “it’s about time”! Put him in a position where he doesn’t have to throw it. 🙂 Third was just never the right spot for him after watching him play there for 3+ years. I hope he finds success on the other side of the diamond!

    I think BOTH Hagerstown and Potomac are going to have amazing success this year. It puts the major league team in the best position for utilizing players for trades to secure even more quality players for the bigs and the minors.

    I’m still not on the Eury bandwagon, but if he has good luck in Potomac this year maybe i’ll be a believer.

    What a great time to be a Nats fan!

      1. Ummm….no. I’ve actually considered not going on Friday even though I have season tickets. I hate the media circus and I surely know the Muni can’t handle what this early season is going to throw at it.

        Top it off with smaller and more expensive beer and food? I’m not a happy person. 🙂

    1. I hope his throwing arm was the source of a majority of Souza’s errors. Granted, two games is a very small sample size, but I’d say he’s adapting to 1B quite nicely. If that makes me Joe six-pack, I’m ok with it.

      I’m not sure if slap-hits & drag bunts are going to be enough for Eury at higher levels – time will tell, I suppose.

      1. +1 on the run/hit/catch. Can do the first, not so much the 3rd….slap hitting is for softball IMHO.

    1. He looked good in his one inning. Certainly much better than Carlos “6th year at Potomac” Martinez.

      1. Agreed. Relief pitchers are tougher to guage because you really only tend to notice if they blow people away or get lit up. Yet another reason to always bring the scorebook when you go.

  5. TBR dont worry about the crowds on Friday, you’ll be surrouded by the rowdies. As for your daughter and Bryce, she better become a mormon. The bible quote he uses on all his signatures are from the book of mormom.

    Come next week all the craziness will subside, especially if he continues to only play par or slightly better.

    As for Eury, I am sold but I could be biased. He needs to hit to the gaps with power and he can get away with the infield hits in the lower level but that stuff wont play in AAA or the show.

    Sandy throw one out last night and picked one off first! the kid got an arm, hope the bat comes around.

    1. I like Sandy Leon….I agree his hitting must come around or he’s not going any further. Eury is very “toolsy” and must gain a few more to translate it all to AAA or above. There are times when he is like Charlie hustle, then he looks like he’s not even paying attention.

      Harper will be moved on through every level this year, maybe a month or less everywhere…

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