Dateline:  Browns Chapel #1

It was a warm spring morning after a week of rain when the Nationals took the field against the second place Phillies.  The Phillies were riding high with a 4-2-1 record only two games behind the first place Reds.  The Nationals looked good in warmups but the Phillies starter was tough and struck out the side.  Bottom of the first and Frankie got the start for the Nationals.  An infield error and a single to center scored a run but Frankie settled down and got three quick strikeouts to end the inning.  After one it was 1-0 Phillies.

The Nats came right back as Frankie led off with a walk.   With two outs CJ walked and Frankie advanced to third and scored on a wild pitch.  Frankie continued in the second and got his fourth and fifth strikeout in a row.  Shane came on in relief and got a quick strikeout for out three.  After two it was all tied up at 1-1.  The Nationals went down in order in the top of the third and Shane made quick work of the Phillies in the bottom of the third with a strikeout, a groundout to second where Ben made a great play and threw to first for out two and a strikeout. After three it was still tied up at 1-1.

Top of the fourth  and Anthony was hit by a pitch.  Henry grounded out to second and Anthony moved ot second.  Jake got on with an infield error  and Anthony moved to third and scored on wild pitches.  Henry made quick work of the Phillies in the bottom of the third after the leadoff man singled to center.  He struck out two and got one batter to ground out back to the mound. After four it was 2-1 Nationals.

Top of the fifth, and the Nationals broke the game open as DJ drilled a single to center.  CJ followed up with a hard single to right.  A wild pitch moved the runners.  Joseph T.  beat out an infield hit to third to score DJ.  CJ scored on a wild pitch.  Joseph G. walked and a wild pitch moved runners to third and secon.  Anthony singled to score Joseph T and Henry singled to score Joseph G.  Bottom of the fourth and Henry came on in relief.  Bottom of the fourth and Henry got the first batter to hit a slow roller toward third, Henry came way off the mound over toward the third base line and fired across the diamond to first where Shane made a great catch.   A double to center followed by Henry settled down and struck out a batter for out two and got the last batter to ground out back to the mound.    After four it was 6-1 Nationals.

Top of the fifth and the Nationals picked up an insurance run as Jake led off with a hard single to left.  Shane drilled a single to right to score Jake.  Bottom of the fifth and Henry stayed on the mound.  The first batter grounded out to Jake at short who made a nice throw to first for out one.  An infield error and a hit batter put runners on at first and second.   Jake came on in relief and the next batter beat out an infield hit to load the bases with one out.  The leadoff man walked to score a run.  A strikeout was big for out two.  The next batter walked to set up the cleanup hitter for a dramatic situation.  The cleanun hitter was the tying run and the bases were loaded and there were two outs.  Jake calmly struck him out to end the game.  Final Score:  Nationals 7 Phillies 3.

Coach Grossman was available very briefly as next week looks like a four game week and he had to begin preparing immediately.  He said, “Well, our guys are coming together.  We can clearly match up with anyone in our league as we just played the first and second place team this week and we only lost by a run on Tuesday.  I was thrilled to see out guys get seven hits and our pitching staff did a great job with 13 strikeouts and only  3 walks.   We still need to work on our team defense, but we are getting better every week.”

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