By: Anna Dunlavey
They did it. After seven straight losses and two winless weeks, the DC Grays finally got a victory. The homestanding Grays beat Youse’s Orioles 5-2, and improved to 10-20 on the season.
Starting pitcher Sam Delaplane (Eastern Michigan) was on fire from the first inning, when he struck out two of the three batters he faced. He went on to strike out six more batters for a total of eight, a season high for the Grays. Delaplane only gave up one run and four hits in the six innings he pitched.
On the offensive side, Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville) was the standout. He hit two solo home runs, and he reached base five times.
Webb Bobo (Southeast Louisiana), playing left field for the first time this season, ignited a two-out rally in the bottom of the first to get the Grays the lead. Bobo doubled, and first baseman Jay Graham (Dartmouth) drove him home on a single to left field. Tietjen hit his first home run over the right-center fence in the bottom of the second.
The Grays protected their 2-0 lead with spectacular defense in the third. Delaplane registered another strike out,Michael Breen (San Jose State) made a leaping catch at shortstop for the second out, and after slipping on the turf,third baseman Tietjen caught a foul pop sitting down to end the half-inning.
Tietjen hit his second home run in the top of the fourth, a drive that sailed over the left field fence to increase the Grays’ lead to 3-0. A bases loaded walk in the top of the sixth inning scored the first Orioles’ run, but the Grays answered back in the bottom of the inning. After Graham hit a double, Desmond Stegall (Grambling State) and Tietjen were both walked. Eric Urry (Brigham Young) then hit a grounder up the first base line, and although Urry was thrown out, Graham was able to score. Breen then brought Stegall home on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, increasing the lead to 5-1.
In the top of the seventh, an Orioles batter advanced to first on a dropped third strike and later came around to score, but that was all that the Grays’ relievers allowed. Andre Wilson (Grambling State), who pitched the seventh inning, gave a run on one hit. Ari Kaufman (Lafayette), who pitched the eighth, and James Lengal (Brigham Young), who closed the game, both pitched scoreless and hitless innings.
The Grays will have a few days off for Wednesday’s Ripken League All-Star game. (Bobo and Trae Sweeting from Georgia State will represent the Grays.). The Grays return to the Nationals Youth Academy on Friday to take on the Herndon Braves.