In many respects Friday afternoon's Prince George's County Southern Division game between DuVal High School and host Largo was a miscrocosim of the season for both teams. DuVal scored early and often en route to a 21-4 victory against the Lions in five innings.
DuVal scored at least four runs in each of the first four innings, although the Tigers did much of the damage without swinging the bats. DuVal hitters collected a modest sum of five hits on the day. They scored six runs in the second without getting a base hit and then added seven more in the fourth despite managing only one hit. They gladly accepted seven walks, a hit batter and a dropped infield fly.
“We showed a lot of patience at the plate today,” said DuVal first-year coach Gary Diagostino. “My guys have really been listening to me all season. They know it's better to go up there and take some pitches and walk than it is to pop-up chasing a pitch. We showed a lot of patience at the plate and we ran the bases well.”
DuVal (11-1) and Suitland (10-2) have been the dominant teams in the new revamped schedule and those two teams will meet on Monday to determine which one of them will face Bowie in Thursday's Prince George's County Championship game at Cosca Regional Park in Clinton. Suitland edged DuVal, 8-5, in the first meeting last month and the Tigers are eager to avenge their lone blemish this spring.
“The first time we played them, we didn't play our best game,” said DuVal senior catcher Brian Davis, who went 2 for 2 on Friday and drove in three runs. “We committed a lot of unforced errors. I know we can play better. Today against Largo, we took advantage of their mistakes. But you can't always expect the other team to give up walks and to give up extra bases. Any time we wanted the extra base we took it.”
While DuVal has benefited from the revamped schedule and has yet to lose to a 3A/2A/1A squad, Largo (1-8) has struggled this spring. The Lions used three different pitchers on Friday, but each of them struggled with bouts of wildness. Starter Ismali Diakete gave up six runs in one-plus innings of work while reliever Josh White surrendered 11 runs, seven earned, in two-plus innings.
DuVal starter Shawn Coleman allowed four runs, three earned, in four and two-thirds innings to get the win on Friday and got plenty of run support. The Tigers staked him to a 10-0 lead as the bottom portion of the order did plenty of damage. Davis had two hits, while Rony Calderon went 1 for 2 but collected five runs batted in. He had a three-run double in the first. Jamani Clay (1 for 1) had a two-run single in the fourth and walked three times.
Largo scored a run in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth against Coleman. Marquis Johnson singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by White in the second; Romero Smith singled home Ed McCall in the third and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Johnson, then Christian Brown scored in the fourth on a single by McCall.
DuVal 21, Largo 4
DuVal (11-1) 4 6 4 7 0 - 21
Largo (1-8) 0 1 2 1 0 - 4
WP - Shawn Coleman. LP - Ismali Diakete. 2B: D - Jakari Mack, Rony Calderon, Brian Davis. RBI: D - Jakari Mack 1, Jerell Solomon 1, Brian Davis 3, Rony Calderon 5, Jamani Clay 3. L - Romello Smith 1, Marquis Johnson 1, Josh White 1.