Senators’ Seever shuts out Cardinals

FRONT ROYAL — Call him the late-season Cardinal killer.

Less than a week ago, Aldie starter Jason Seever held Front Royal down in a 4-1 Senator victory.

On Tuesday night, the left-hander from Santa Clara did similar. This time he shut out the Cardinals 2-0 in Valley Baseball League Northern Division baseball.

The win increased the visitors’ record to 19-18, while the home team dropped to 19-19. Both were chasing Strasburg, which led the division by percentage points heading into the night’s action.

Interestingly, Seever’s start last week jump-started what is now a Front Royal seven-game losing string.

Aldie has five games remaining in the regular season, while Front Royal has four.

“He had pitched against them in the last week, so he had a pretty good frame of reference to begin with,” said Aldie manager Eric Lemley.

“I knew from the last time I faced them to throw a lot of changeups and move my fastball in and out. That’s what I wanted to do,” Seever said.

“He’s the type of pitcher that doesn’t necessarily overpower, but he does have good control on his pitches,” added Lemley.

He did just that, going seven complete innings before giving way to fellow left-hander Joe Williams in the bottom of the eighth. In those frames, Seever gave up no runs, two hits, three walks and a hit batsman. He struck out five. Combined with the starter’s effort, the reliever completed a three-hitter against the Cardinals.

Coming in, Seever showed a 2-1 record (3-1) with a 1.62 earned run average. The Cardinals’ answer was ace Corey Sessions, who had the most wins in the VBL (five; his record dropped to 5-1) and also had a sterling 1.84 ERA.

And a pitcher’s duel is what they got in a game that featured several outstanding defensive plays in the field.

Neither team was able to score until Aldie pushed across two in their half of the seventh and then held on to win.

Jake Brodt led the inning off lining a double into the fencing atop the left-field wall at Bing Crosby Stadium. Brodt moved to third on a wild pitch. Will Black’s single brought him home. Garrett Suggs follow with a single that sent Sessions out.

The Front Royal right-hander was nearly peerless. He gave up six hits, striking out two and walking none, though giving up two earned runs in seven-plus innings.

Ahead 1-0, Black and Suggs negotiated a double steal, then Patrick Coffin walked pinch-hitter Carter Cashman. Front Royal went home for the out on a ground ball by Senator Matt MacMahan, but a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by Joe Consolmagno got in Black with the team’s second run.

“It’s good to win anytime, but particularly now, this late in the season, ever W counts,” Lemley said..

Front Royal did not get a hit until the bottom of the fourth when center fielder Drew Small (who was hitting .353 coming in) banged a single over second base. Teammate Tre Porter had previously been hit by a pitch and moved to third. But Seever bore down and got the next two Cardinals out.

Front Royal got a man on in the second, another base-runner in the seventh and yet one more in the eighth but could do nothing to plate those left on base.

Aldie left four runners on base before its big seventh.

What Front Royal hoped would be a double play in the Senators’ seventh turned out to go the other way on a call by the field umpire. Front Royal manager Brad Neffendorf argued the call and was tossed out of the game. The controversy occurred at third base. After shortstop Chase Lunceford threw home for an out, the relay from Cardinals catcher Diego Reynoso failed to do similar at third.

Aldie has games left with Charles Town, Strasburg (a doubleheader), at Winchester and finally home with Woodstock. Front Royal visits Winchester Wednesday, then comes home to play Woodstock and visit Strasburg and Charles Town to close the season.