By Alanna Dvorak
Sterling, VA (May 13, 2015) – When Josh Daitzman, a senior and three-year first baseman for the Dominion High School baseball team, took to the plate in extra innings May 13, he did so having never hit a varsity home run.
But with a tremendous first swing, Daitzman launched a doozy over the right field fence to clinch a 1-0 victory against Conference 21 rivals Loudoun County (2-5, 8-9) on the Titan’s Senior Night in Sterling.
“Eighth inning, I was just hoping to get on base, do something for my team. But once I felt the ball come off the bat, I knew it was at least extra bases,” said Daitzman, as catcher Bryce Slack dumped a celebratory cooler of ice water on his teammate.
The vast majority of the eight inning game was a duel between pitchers. Dominion (3-4, 7-12) senior Justin Traenkle pitched a complete game of 83 pitches, not giving up a hit until the top of the eighth en route to striking out five batters and walking none. Just three Raiders reached base against the Titans -one on error, one hit and one who was hit by a pitch.
“I didn’t even know they didn’t have that many hits. I was just hoping to go in there and shut them down, not give up that first run,” Traenkle said. “It’s pressure, but I like that atmosphere. I had confidence in my team that at some point, something was going to break.”
County senior Sam Rexroad largely matched Traenkle step for step. The lefty struck out eight batters while allowing just three hits, one run and one walk in eight innings.
“If you’re into pitching, tonight was the night,” Dominion coach Jeff Berg said. “Both pitchers were dealing, both pitchers had command but something had to break. We’re glad we got the big hit.”
In addition to the exemplary pitching, both teams boasted strong defenses, with each team notching only one error a piece. Senior Jake Cunningham shone particularly bright for the Raiders, as the shortstop acrobatically scooped up seven balls that led to outs throughout the course of the night for the Leesburg squad.
Both teams are scheduled for games Friday, but those games will not count toward conference seedings. Dominion will host an in-conference game against Woodgrove, while County will face the first-year Rock Ridge. The Conference 21 baseball tournament is scheduled to start May 19.