By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Chase Smallwood just wanted to give his team a lift with a quality start -- his first at Sherando -- when he took the mound against Brentsville on Saturday. However, once the game started the junior could tell it was going to be a good day.
"It felt pretty awesome," Smallwood said of how he felt during the game.
Smallwood had all of his pitches working and was in a groove, one that Brentsville's bats simply couldn't handle.
Smallwood threw a perfect game, striking out six in helping Sherando beat the Tigers 10-0 in six innings.
He is also the Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for March 31-April 6.
Smallwood, who has pitched some throughout his Little League and American Legion career, is usually the starting catcher for the Warriors. Last year he only pitched one inning for the Warriors.
Sherando coach Pepper Martin said due to his confidence in backup catcher Connor Stevenson, he decided they could use Smallwood more this season. The Warriors had four games last week, which made Smallwood's pitching ability even more important.
Martin said he wasn't surprised that Smallwood threw well, although he wasn't expecting a perfect game.
"He's always been an established pitcher for us," Martin said. "We lost 17 of our 19 wins from last season. We knew coming in we were going to need him to pitch more for us this season.
"He just pitched a heck of a game. He located all of his pitches well. Early on he was able to establish his fastball."
Smallwood threw only 12 balls in the game, and went to a full count only once. He had 11 groundball outs, with only one ball going past the infield.
Martin said he feels pretty confident that they won't wait three weeks to use Smallwood again.
It was the first perfect game in Sherando history.
"I'm really proud of the accomplishment," Smallwood said. "It was fun. I just wanted to do my best for the team."
Smallwood helped his own cause with the bat. He went 4-for-4 and had a big week for the Warriors at the plate.
On Tuesday in an 18-3 win over Handley, Smallwood had three hits. Then on Friday night, he went 3-for-4 with an RBI in a 15-4 victory over Kettle Run. Smallwood is 7-for-7 in his last seven at-bats.
Smallwood said he went to the batting cage recently and changed his batting stance, which has made a big difference.
"I've been driving the ball a lot better," he said. "I'm seeing the ball better."
Smallwood said he also liked the fact that the Warriors had four games last week, which he is used to with the summer league he is in.
Sherando is now 7-0, and has won its games by a combined total of 91-11.
Martin said the Warriors have some really tough matchups coming up in the next few weeks, which will provide a real test for Sherando's offense.
One of those tests will be a home doubleheader against Spotswood, which has a Division 1 pitcher on its staff.
"We're going to be facing some tougher pitchers as the season progresses," Martin said. "That will give us a better idea of just how good our offense is."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org