Churchill baseball dominates Northwest 11-1

POTOMAC – The Winston Churchill High School baseball team opened the 2023 season with three straight victories after the Bulldogs earned an 11-1 win over Northwest in six innings on Tuesday afternoon.

Zane Gross went a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate with four RBIs and two runs, while Isaac Kreisler added two RBIs and additional two runs.

“I thought they were both going to hit for the cycle after the first inning,” Churchill head coach Pat Skellchock said of his two players. “They’re batting in those spots for a reason. The 2 and 3 are important spots in my lineup.”

Gross and Kreisler hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning to give Churchill an early two-run lead.

The Bulldogs proceeded to score five consecutive runs in the second inning. In that scoring streak, Jeremy Davis grounded into a fielder’s choice and drew in a run, Gross hit a 2-RBI triple, Kreisler singled on a pop fly to center field to add another score, and Kanen Kreafle hit an RBI double.

“We played as a team,” said Gross. “We all did our role, and that’s what happens when we play as a team. We compete, and we win. That’s all it is.”

Northwest finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning: Joe Drengowitz doubled on a line drive to center field and sent in a run, cutting the deficit to 8-1.

“We just didn’t bring the energy from the get-go,” said Jaguars head coach Kyle Culver. “When we got punched in the mouth and had them fight back, we just imploded today.”

The next two Churchill runs came in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of an RBI single by Gross and a sac fly by Michael Demske.

Finally, Davis doubled to center and sent home Christian Kim, activating the mercy rule at the bottom of the sixth.

“Our defense made some mistakes,” said Skellchock. “But Northwest didn’t capitalize too much on those, and we recovered quick and hit the crap out of the ball.”

Kim was the winning pitcher for the Bulldogs, as he went five innings and struck out five batters.

The game was in the middle of a stretch where Churchill played a game for three straight days.

“It’s tough because even in the playoffs, you don’t do this,” said Skellchock. “You have to see what kind of pitching you have, and you have to make moves at the right time.”

Last year, the Bulldogs had one of the best baseball seasons in school history but lost to eventual state champion Sherwood in the 4A state semifinals.

“We were undefeated basically the whole season last year,” said Gross. “We didn’t win the state championship, so obviously, it means nothing. Just look to the next game.”

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