With every game, first-year McDonogh baseball coach Chet Janiga learns something new about his No. 2-ranked Eagles.
In Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Prince George's County power Riverdale Baptist, he watched his Eagles rally around left fielder Dennis Badham, who drove in all four runs, including three on a home run.
"The focus our team had [against Riverdale Baptist] was very impressive, and we played outstanding defense," said Janiga. "They were really champing at the bit. They were like caged animals. Every game's an education for me."
McDonogh (5-0, 1-0) was equally ruthless in yesterday's 11-3 rout of 15th-ranked Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rival Gilman, collecting all six of its hits against starter Greg Dobbyn (1-1) in a seven-run third inning during which the senior right-hander faced 10 batters.
"That was our best pitcher out there today, and they got to him a little bit," said Gilman coach Marty Melloy, whose team trailed, 10-2, after three innings when Dobbyn (six walks) left the mound.
Rollie Corden replaced Dobbyn and blanked the Eagles over the next two innings, striking out three and inducing three fly outs. Badham (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Mike Dubansky (1-for-3, three RBIs), and Jason Siegel (1-for-2, one RBIs) led the way for McDonogh.
The teams traded runs in the sixth, with the Greyhounds getting Douglas Hamilton's run-scoring double. But Gilman couldn't get much else off second-team All-Metro hurler Mike Ginsberg (2-0), who was 1-for-2 with an RBI at the plate, and overcame early jitters and teeth-chattering temperatures with his six-strikeout, three-walk effort.
"It wasn't close to my best stuff. Being my first league game, I was nervous and I left the ball hanging up more than I should have," said Ginsberg. "But I had good backup in our defense, and it's a victory against our rivals, so this is a good win."
The Eagles, who take on No. 18 Overlea today, and No. 1 Calvert Hall on Monday, led, 3-0, after an inning.
Dobbyn sandwiched walks of Rich Levin and Ginsberg around batter Jason Taylor, who reached on an error by second baseman Matt Wolf. Levin scored on Badham's fielder's choice out at second, with Taylor and Badham later scoring on Dobbyn's wild pitches.
"Mistakes are costly in this league, and we made a few. We've got to tighten up and play smarter in some areas," said Melloy. "Once they got ahead of us, it was tough to come back. Our kids hit pretty well against Ginsberg, but he's a real good pitcher."
Still, Gilman (3-1, 0-1) tagged Ginsberg for two hits in the top of the second and pulled to within 3-2.
With one out, Ginsberg yielded consecutive singles to Russell Wrenn and Hamilton before hitting the next batter, Jason Nitzberg, who faced an 0-2 count.
Wrenn scored when third baseman Mike Stellar mishandled Danny Coyle's shallow infield hopper, allowing Coyle to reach unhindered. Wolf then hit into a fielder's choice at second, scoring Hamilton for a one-run deficit.
Dobbyn got three of four batters to fly out in the bottom of the inning, with the other being stranded on first after reaching on an error.