It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but all Stone Bridge baseball head coach Sam Plank could do in the end was smile as his Bulldogs defeated North Stafford 9-5 on Monday night in Ashburn to advance to the semifinals of the 5A North Region tournament Wednesday against Marshall.
Stone Bridge (21-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead early courtesy of two runs in each of the first two innings, and chasing North Stafford freshman starter Ryan Kennedy from the mound after just 1.1 innings of action. That offensive eruption was combined with stellar work on the mound from sophomore lefty Brett Kreyer, who threw 6 innings while giving up just one run; he sat down batters in order in four of those innings.
“He doesn’t walk many guys ever. He pounds the zone … he rarely gets hit consecutively. That’s why he doesn’t give up many runs. We talk about limits and damage, and great pitchers step up when they have to. He’s been put in that number-one role [for] the last month and he’s stepped up for us big time,” Plank said.
The Bulldogs led 5-0 after five innings and were up 9-1 heading into the top of the seventh after scoring four runs in the sixth. Two consecutive singles by Josh Greenberg and Shane Scully preceded a John Callahan bunt, and with Greenberg and Scully on second and third, respectively, Kyle Palmer drove the ball out to the warning track in straightaway center, scoring the two baserunners. Dave Mocabee then swung on a payoff pitch and homered to left, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
However, a walk, two singles, a fielder’s choice followed by another walk and a double gave North Stafford a bit of life. After a shaky two-thirds of an inning by Justin Zaferakis, Lawton Riggs came in to seal the deal, and did just that with a six-pitch strikeout.