Home Gem from Valdez lifts P-Nats over Keys 2-1

Gem from Valdez lifts P-Nats over Keys 2-1

p-natsThe Potomac Nationals (16-11 Overall, 6-8 Home) used the dominance of starting pitcher, RHP Phillips Valdez (4-1) to surmount the Frederick Keys (12-18 Overall, 9-8 Road) by the final score of 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium.

The victory gave the Nationals a two-games-to-one series win and kept the P-Nats undefeated in their one-run games (4-0).

Valdez, who faced two over the minimum in the outing, captured his fourth win which leads the Nationals’ pitching staff after hurling a 7.0 inning one-run allowed gem.

Valdez took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and gave up the only hit of the game for Frederick to 1B Aderlin Rodriguez with two outs in that frame.

Valdez walked three and fanned three while his only run allowed was earned.

Valdez mowed down 11 Keys batters in a row from the 4th inning to the 7th in advance of Rodriguez breaking up Valdez’s no-hit bid.

Potomac jumped on the scoreboard against the losing pitcher, Frederick RHP Cory Jones (1-2)  in the 2nd inning with all the runs they would need to beat the Keys. Nationals LF Alec Keller swept an infield single to the right side and rode to the plate on a two-run home run rocket off the stick of 3B David Masters that negotiated the left field pole.

The round-tripper was Masters’ second bomb of the 2016 season.

Jones lost his second decision this season after dealing through 5.0 innings in which he surrendered two earned runs on four hits and one walk.

The lone run for the Keys was truly manufactured in the 4th as the leadoff man, CF Jay Gonzalez walked his way aboard on four pitches before he stole second base. Gonzalez moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of 2B Anthony Caronia. Gonzalez scored on an RBI groundout to second base from RF Cam Kneeland.

Both teams were hitless with runners in scoring position as Frederick suffered an 0-for-3 fate with men in position to score and Potomac made it to a win despite going 0-for-5.

Keys relievers, LHP Jeff Beliveau, a former Major Leaguer with the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays, and RHP David Richardson combined for 3.0 scoreless bullpen frames in which the duo allowed three hits but struck out five men.

P-Nats RHP Greg Ross slung a perfect 8th inning before LHP R.C. Orlan (SV 3) notched his third save in his fourth save chance this year in the 9th.

Orlan walked the first batter he faced, Keys Pinch Hitter Wynston Sawyer. Pinch Runner Tad Gold took over at first base for Sawyer. Gonzalez laid down a 1-3 sac bunt to get Gold to second base. Frederick Pinch Hitter Steve Wilkerson lofted a high fly ball towards the right field corner and after the wind played with the ball, P-Nats RF Narciso Mesa made a great running catch to record the second out. Gold sprinted to third base on Wilkerson’s flyout. Kneeland then struck out on three straight pitches to clinch the “W” for the Potomac Nationals.

The Nationals travel to Lynchburg, VA to engage the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians) in a one-game series tomorrow night which serves as the makeup of a game postponed due to inclement weather on May 3rd before the P-Nats head to Zebulon, NC for a three-game series from next Tuesday, May 10th to Thursday, May 12th against the Carolina Mudcats (Atlanta Braves) at Five County Stadium.

The Hillcats will send RHP Julian Merryweather (4-1, 0.60) to the mound on Monday evening at Lynchburg City Stadium. Merryweather owns the lowest earned run average in the Carolina League among qualifying pitchers. The Nationals will counter withRHP Wirkin Estevez (0-1, 3.92) who covets his first victory of the season.

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the game beginning with the “P-Nats Lead-Off Show” at 5:45pmbefore the live play-by-play at 6:00pm. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is accessible atwww.potomacnationals.com or with the TuneIn Radio App.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.