July 11, 2009
By Alex Buscemi
VIENNA, Va. — After keeping it close for much of the game, the Senators eventually pulled ahead to take a commanding 8-3 victory over the Putty Hill Panthers on July 11th. The game was the Senator’s second of the day, and the fatigue of back-to-back competition was evident on the diamond.
“We were a little flat but we grinded out a win,” said Manager Chris Burr, “It was a long day with two games, but we’ll be fresh on Monday.”
Pitching first for the Senators was Greg Uzee, a right-hander from Louisiana College, who gave them a great start defensively. In five innings, Uzee struck out 7 of the 18 batters he faced, and allowed only one run scored by Karl Lamont in the fifth. Lamont doubled to center and advanced to third off of a wild pitch before being brought home by Andrew Chase’s groundout to second.
Taking over for Uzee in the sixth was Branden Weber, a lefty from Florida Southern College. This night, things got a little shaky for Weber, who’s admitted to having some control problems in the past. Weber beaned the Panthers’ first batter, Cody Schuchman, who quickly advanced to third off of a fielding error by second-baseman Austin Booker. Then a wild pitch from Weber enabled Schuchman to score. The Panthers brought in another run, their final of the night, before the innings’ end with pitcher Chris McDermott’s single RBI to right that knotted things up 3 to 3.
“I didn’t give myself enough time to get ready in the bullpen,” said Weber, “I didn’t focus.”
It wasn’t until the seventh that the Senators showed their dominance, racking up 4 runs and 3 hits in the inning alone. Austin Booker started the fire with a grounder to first. The first-baseman came off the bag couldn't make the play. After reaching first on the error, Booker was immediately sent to second with Jon Schwind’s single to first. Then, Nick Kuroczko’s sacrifice bunt put Booker and Schwind in scoring position. With two men on base, Jamie Bruno sent the ball crashing into the right-field foul pole, just barely a three-run homer. Fueled by Bruno’s thundering shot, Ryan Court doubled to right center. Court would then score unearned, the result of a walk with bases loaded, to give the Senators a comfortable 5 run lead.
In wake of the Senators' surge, the Panthers were unable to rally and went scoreless the final two innings, thanks to the pitching of Kyle Blank and Victor Lara. Blank and Lara pitched an inning each, neither allowing a single hit.
With yet another win under his belt, Burr believes next week will be the true test for his 21-5 Senators.
“Next week is exam week, we’ll see if we can stand out from the rest,” said Burr, “Next week we’ll find out how good we really are.”