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SUITLAND — Hunter Morgan of Parkdale High School allowed zero hits in five innings of work on the mound and the Panthers used two seven-run innings to come away with a shutout win in five innings at Suitland High School, 19-0, on April 4.
As Morgan made it difficult for Suitland batters to get good swings off, Parkdale’s batting lineup connected solidly with the ball all game, totaling 21 hits for the afternoon.
“I think it was a good performance by our guys,” Parkdale Head Coach Will Poulakos said. “I feel good. We were trying to hit the ball a little bit too far there at the start, and we needed to settle down a little bit. Once we did that, we were able to shoot some balls up the middle and do what we needed to do,” said Morgan, a sophomore who tallied nine strikeouts.
“Once again, we made a couple of base-running errors today, but the thing I’m most excited about is how Hunter performed on the mound,” Poulakos said of the young pitcher. “He had the best outing of the year, he changed some things up, made some adjustments. I hope he does this same thing moving forward.”
Steven Osorio led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 to finish with two RBI and three runs. He blasted a homer to left field in the top of the first to begin an early scoring run for the Panthers.
“We did great,” Osorio said. “We played as a team, and we played as one – that’s how we came out victorious.”
Suitland fell to 0-3 with the loss. Head Coach James Hicks said some of the team’s starters were not able to play due to some “scheduling conflicts.”
The Rams were on the verge of having to forfeit the game because they had only eight players in uniform at the scheduled start time, but a ninth player showed up only moments before the umpires were going to call the game.
“There were players that we played that haven’t gotten a lot of minutes this year. This was their first year playing baseball as a sport, and they came out, and they really showed some heart today,” Hicks said.
“They’re (Parkdale) a really good team, but these players played hard, and they continue to improve; I’m really proud of it, and that’s why they were pretty happy after the game. They see their improvement and improvement as a team.”
Hicks said he advises his guys to use every game as a learning experience and remain committed to practicing and getting better. The second-year head coach also identified hitting as an area of improvement for his young group.
“We need to improve our hitting,” Hicks said. “Kudos to them though, their pitcher pitched a great game. But being a no-hit like that, we need to be more patient at the plate. We just need to work the count and be a little more disciplined at the plate.”
Tyler Faulk started for the Rams and took his first loss of the season after throwing four innings and allowed 12 runs on 16 hits. He was relieved by left-hander Keyshaun Washington, who pitched at the top of the fifth inning and allowed seven runs.
“The throughout the game, they (Parkdale) definitely put the bat on the ball,” said Faulk, who had four strikeouts on the afternoon.
“We definitely have to work harder as far as hitting – putting the bat on the ball as the other team did. We have to hit the ball, put the ball in play. There was a lot of times when we hit the ball, but it was grounded out, so we definitely have to pull the ball more, stay inside and lift the ball.”
For Parkdale, third baseman Mekel Humphries went 3-for-3, had a double, triple, RBI and two runs while second baseman Nicolas Rodriguez had two runs and four RBI on three hits. The Panthers capitalized on a number of pitching and fielding errors by the Rams to accrue 14 runs in the last two innings.
Next for Suitland (0-3) will be Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. on April 6 at 11:30 a.m. followed by Eleanor Roosevelt on April 8 at 4:30 p.m.
The win moves the Panthers to 2-3 on the season. They will host C.H. Flowers on April 9 at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to Greenbelt to face Roosevelt on April 11 at 4:30. Poulakos expects to have a full roster within the next week after several players return from being ineligible.
“We got six guys ineligible right now. They’ll all be back come April 11,” he said.
“So we’re excited about that, we’re excited about the team we have. The chemistry’s real good; the kids are having fun which are good to see.”