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Posted August 4, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Royals' offense too much in Game 1

By Dennis Atwood -- sports@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The fourth-seeded Woodstock River Bandits hosted the fifth-seeded Winchester Royals in the first round of the Valley Baseball League playoffs Monday night.

The matchup featured the league's top pitching squad, the River Bandits, with a 3.30 ERA, against the second best hitting team in the league (the Royals batted .293 this year).

The bats won this round, and the Royals had their way with starting pitcher Ian Marshall as the River Bandits surrendered the most runs and hits of their season in Winchester's 12-2 win over Woodstock.

"We were fortunate because Ian Marshall's been one of the top pitchers in the league, so we were very fortunate to get him out [of the game]," Winchester manager John Lowery, Jr. said. "It's just he way baseball goes sometimes, that we drew a couple walks, got a couple hits and got three runs in the first inning and got a little momentum.

"So that was a good sign and tomorrow's a new day, so hopefully we'll come out and do that again."

Marshall entered with a 2.16 ERA and 2-1 record, but he could not find the target with his off-speed stuff and had to rely too heavily on his fastball. Marshall walked Aaron Dudley to lead off the game and committed a balk when his cleat seemed to get caught in the dirt, which moved Dudley to second.

When Dave Fallon grounded out to first, Dudley moved to third and scored on a Steve Sabins ground out.

Marshall then walked Jordan Steranka on a 3-2 pitch and gave up a single to Gabriel Ortiz.

Designated hitter Robert Maddox, batting in the six-hole, bashed a liner to the fence in near straightaway center for a double, plating Steranka and Ortiz. Maddox, an Ohio University sophomore, finished 3-for-4, including a solo home run in the fourth. He also laced a single and scored a run in the third, missing only a triple to hit for the cycle.

"I was just trying to do my role today as a DH, try to get on base, drive runners in," Maddox said. "The guys in front of my got on base also ... which helped me out. We saw early that [Marshall] was relying on the fastball, so we knew we could sit on it."

"I settled down a bit after the first and second -- I was a little wild to start," Rivera said. "In my last two starts I went nine innings, but didn't happen to get wins. With all the run support I had tonight I could just settle in and not worry so much about an occasional hit, and [even] a home run's not gonna change anything."

The River Bandits showed offensive life by scoring a run each in the first and second innings, but were shutout the rest of the way. They managed a total of eight hits, with Eric Kroll and Stephen Hunt each going 2-for-4.

William Hudgins relieved Marshall with two runners on in the second and worked out the jam. Then he ran into a buzzsaw in the third frame.

The Royals batted around and scored five runs on six hits to take an 8-2 lead and put the game virtually out of reach.

Dudley finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.

"There was nothing particularly wrong with Ian [Marshall], it was just one of those nights," Woodstock manager Donn Foltz said. "There's an old saying, if you're around baseball long enough you're going to have one of those. You just hope it doesn't happen in the first round of the playoffs."

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