As preseason concerns go, John Skaggs was 100-percent accurate about his Yorktown Patriots’ high-school baseball team – at least when it comes to the season opener.
Skaggs, the Patriots’ head coach, is confident Yorktown’s pitching will be strong this season, and it was in the squad’s 4-3 home loss to the South Lakes Seahawks in the April 26 Liberty District contest. In a notable high-school varsity debut, hard-throwing tall left-hander James Tallon struck out 10, walked two, gave up three hits, threw 92 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and allowed one unearned run. He did not get the decision.
Skaggs’ worries were about hitting and infield defense, two areas that struggled in the loss.
Yorktown, the 2018 Liberty District Tournament champion and 2019 runner-up and with a combined 30-18 record those two seasons, started strong with the bats. The Patriots produced four hits in their three-run first inning. But Yorktown did not get another hit.
The infield combined for five errors, which set up the Seahawks’ four unearned runs, all in the sixth inning. Yorktown made three infield errors in that frame and relief pitchers walked two.
“We came out swinging and got three runs out of our first five batters in the first inning against a good pitcher, and that was pretty good,” Skaggs said. “I’m not sure we got another hit after that. James pitched well. We could have let him pitch longer. But it was his first game and he’d thrown a lot of pitches. Our defense has to get better, and it will. Some things were out of sorts tonight.”
Yorktown’s first-inning hits went to Ryan Boohwani, Trevor McAndrews, Jacob Friend (RBI) and Thor Koomey, the first four hitters in the lineup. Number-five hitter Nathan Knowles had an RBI on a fielder’s choice and a South Lakes’ error aided in the scoring.
South Lakes starting and winning pitcher Ryan Ertlschweiger got stingy after that, with stretches of retiring six and 11 straight batters, including nine strikeouts. Jacob Wechselblatt pitched the seventh and got the save with one strikeout.
Jonah Neihardt and Robert Reddington each had two hits and an RBI for South Lakes, which had six hits total. Colin Casey doubled.
Yorktown returns to action with games April 29 at Fairfax away and May 1 at home against Mount Vernon at 11 a.m.