Prep baseball: Wong coping with difficult season, helps GW drop Capital
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington sophomore Jeff Wong has had a difficult season.
His occasional struggles on the mound compare nothing to his dealing with the death of his father last May.
On Wednesday night at Floyd B. Wilcox Field and in the shadow of the huge letters on the left-field fence that spell out his father's name, the 10th-grader put together his best outing of the season in a 9-1 victory over Capital (13-16).
Wong struck out six and walked one in a complete-game performance. He threw 115 pitches and he and his team overcame two first-inning blunders and took advantage of some Capital miscues to come up victorious.
"There's been high points and there's been low points," said Wong, speaking of his pitching. "This is probably the first time this year I put all of my pitches together and it came out good."
Wong also helped a 10-hit attack with his first triple of the season. He improved his record to 4-3, his earned run average to 3.67, and his batting average is at .300.
All the while, he struggles to look at the "Robert Wong Wall" in large, white letters against a burgundy background on the 24-foot fence in left center field.
"It's been pretty tough," he said. "The offseason was pretty tough. I got behind on a lot of work I should've been doing.
"The wall ... it's been a process getting used to it. The first few days was rough. It's ... it's ... not all good. I'm getting used to it now. About as used to it as I'm going to get."
Coach Chad Campbell offered to remove the top of the wall with Wong's father's name, but the younger Wong said he was fine with it.
As for the Patriots, they're hitting their stride with the Class AAA Region 3, Section 3 best-of-three tournament set to begin on Wednesday at South Charleston's Bryan-McIlwain Field.
Leadoff hitter John Thomas had three hits and Austin Griffith and Grant Wooten each knocked in two runs. The Patriots (18-10) overcame two errors in the first inning that put runners on second and third with one out. However, Wong got Justin Palmer to ground out back to the pitcher's mound and he struck out Anthony Gavin to end the threat.
For Capital's part, the Cougars failed to take advantage of opportunities beyond just the first inning.
Capital had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but couldn't cross the plate.
Wong got a strikeout, and, after hitting Seth Roadcap with a pitch to load the bases, struck out Brandon Thomas come out unscathed.
Wong struck out five of the game's final six batters.
"We won six of eight coming in and we've been playing better baseball," Capital Coach Robert Massey said. "We lost eight one-run games. Still, we played good defense and we pitched well, and tonight we did not."
The Cougars have seen 59 runners fail to score this season, despite being on second base with no outs or on third base with less than two outs.
Austin Hupp had the team's only RBI, while Wong limited the Cougars to four singles.
The win gives GW six victories in its last seven games.
"Pitch, hit, play defense," GW Coach Chad Campbell said. "The first inning it didn't look like we were going to play defense. After that, we did a good job, mainly because (Wong) shut it down on the mound.
"That's what we need out of him right there."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.