Owning a 3-0 record when the spring high-school season was canceled, the Potomac School Panthers baseball squad may have been the only team in Virginia, in any sport, to play as many games.
The majority of teams had played scrimmage events, but had not yet begun regular-season action.
The regular-season started early for the Panthers, on March 6. Their final game was a 9-7 road victory March 10 over the Maret Frogs in their one conference outing. The 3-0 start was the team’s best since going 5-0 to open the 2015 campaign.
The Panthers' other wins were in non-league action over St. Anne’s-Belfield, 16-6, in cold weather and Bishop Ireton, 4-1.
The season was then canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"It's sad our players don't get to see what they could have done the rest of the season," Potomac School coach Eric Crozier said. "This situation teaches us to take no moment for granted."
Potomac School had a good mix of experienced and young players this spring and expected, as always, to contend for the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference championship. The Panthers won the MAC tourney in 2017 and 2018, but slumped last spring.
"These players worked hard in the offseason and bonded quickly," Crozier said. "We were definitely better than last year."
Against Maret, senior Chris Gaston started and pitched four innings with three strikeouts and junior Cory McLucas went two, with four Ks.
Potomac School had 11 hits, of which junior Henry Boehm, junior John Murphy and senior Michael Djorup had two each. Sophomore T.J. Takis, playing with a sore back, had a big late-inning three-run double coming on a 3-2 pitch. The Panthers won despite making five errors.
Against Belfield on the road, sophomore Andrew Ruggeri pitched four innings with seven strikeouts and McLucas fanned four in three frames. Senior Will Fitzpatrick had two hits and three RBI; Boehm had two hits and four RBI; Gaston drove in two runs; and Ruggeri, Djorup and freshman Kelly Crittenberger hit well.
In the home win over Ireton, Boehm pitched 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Takis worked the final 21/3 frames.
The Panthers had just three hits with Fitzpatrick and McLucas having two of those. Djorup and Crittenberger had an RBI each and Ruggeri hit well.
"We had pitching depth and we had a fast team," Crozier said. "The big thing for us would have been how our bats came around."
Sam Maruca missed the first three games with an injury, as he did most of his junior and freshman seasons. The senior catcher/first baseman was expected to return to the lineup in Potomac School's fourth game this spring.
"I feel especially badly for Sam," Crozier said. "He is an impact player. But because of his injuries and now unlucky with the shutdown, we never got to see the best of him."
NOTE: Crozier said it might sound cheesy, but with a 1-0 conference record, a 3-0 overall mark, and the season over, his Panthers can take pride. "You have to lean on things like this in crazy times," he said.