St. Albans starting pitcher Garrett Comer bounced back in the biggest way on Monday.
After surrendering four runs in his first two innings pitched, he picked himself up with a go-ahead grand slam, followed by four innings of shutout ball as the Red Dragons defeated George Washington 10-4 at Loftis Field to claim the Class AAA Region 3 Section 1 title.
The win was the second straight for St. Albans (23-7) against the Patriots in sectional play as the Red Dragons defeated GW 9-2 Saturday to stay alive in the double-elimination event. The Patriots got into the championship round by outlasting SA 7-2 in nine innings on Wednesday.
After Comer hit a batter Monday and gave up an infield single to put runners on first and second, GW designated hitter Isaac Hamrick singled to right to score the game’s first run. The Patriots added on in the top of the second as Grant Fenwick hit a bases-loaded, three-run triple to give GW a 4-0 advantage.
The Red Dragons got a run back in the bottom of the second as first baseman Brady Williams touched up GW pitcher Isaac McCallister for a solo home run.
The trouble didn’t end there for McCallister, though, as the Red Dragons loaded the bases off two singles — a Jamison McDaniels base knock and a Drew Whitman infield single — and a walk. After Trent Short struck out, Comer hit a grand slam to left-center field on an 0-2 count and put the Red Dragons up 5-4 — a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“You get down 4-0 in an elimination game, it’s not ideal,” St. Albans coach Rick Whitman said. “[We] got a bunch of guys like we got that believe and keep playing. I’m just proud of our guys for not quitting, for not ever doubting themselves, trusting the process. Our guys stepped up.”
Comer went on to shut down the Patriots bats as he delivered a perfect fifth and sixth inning before he was pulled in the seventh with one out for Tyson Burke. Comer went 61/3 innings with four earned runs off 10 hits and picked up the win.
“It was pretty obvious that neither pitcher was 100 percent,” Whitman said. “They were pitching on four days’ rest. [Comer] struggled early on. After that, the home run [picked him up] on the mound. I’ve been preaching to him all year about being a bulldog, and tonight he was an absolute bulldog.”
While GW’s bats were quieted, the long ball was the name of the game for the Red Dragons as they hit a season-high four home runs in the contest. Eight of St. Albans’ 10 runs came via home run.
After the Williams and Comer homers, St. Albans extended its lead to 7-4 with a Short two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth. In the sixth, Will Campbell hit a solo shot to give the Red Dragons an 8-4 lead and Short added two more RBIs with a bases-loaded single to bring the game to 10-4.
Short went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs, Comer drove in his four runs and Whitman went 2 for 2 with a double and a single.
St. Albans is set to take on Oak Hill next week in a Class AAA Region 3 best-of-three matchup.