South River manager Ken Dunn tells his players that "the road to success is always under construction."
Fortunately for him, his team laid down some quality miles Thursday, while all visiting Arundel found were potholes in an 11-1 loss in an Anne Arundel County league game that ended after six innings because of the ten-run rule.
The No. 4 Seahawks (1-0, 1-0) rode the arm and the bat of pitcher Scott Mitchell. The senior threw a three-hitter, striking out eight and keeping No. 5 Arundel (0-1, 0-1) guessing all day. He also contributed a double to score two runs in the sixth inning.
Conner Cox had three singles to lead the Seahawks offensively.
"We played them in the first game last year, and we didn't do very well," said Mitchell, who will attend Radford College next year on a baseball scholarship. "I've been preparing for this for a long time. I expected to do well."
Mitchell pitched a gem, holding the Wildcats scoreless until the fifth, when first baseman A.J. Robinson hit a towering home run for the only blemish on an otherwise great day.
"We beat a quality team with two quality pitchers," Dunn said. "Our hitters went up there with good approaches at the plate, and we were able to put up some crooked numbers."
The game started to get out of hand for the Wildcats in the fourth inning. Already trailing 3-0, Arundel starter Steven Ghardi gave up two singles to start the inning, and then loaded the bases on a walk to Gabe Vertucci.
After giving up a groundout to let another run score, Ghardi gave up singles to the next two batters — Cox and Austin Wright — and found himself trailing 6-0.
Arundel manager Jason Lively pulled Ghardi and put in Cooper Hibbs. Hibbs slowed the onslaught, but the Seahawks scored another run on a botched pick-off play to end the inning with a 7-0 lead.
Mitchell said a big win over Arundel was just what South River wanted to begin the season.
"It was great to get the jitters out," Mitchell said. "I was nervous when the game started, but we started playing and it all just went away. There's a whole new energy on this team this year. Everyone plays like brothers. This was a good start for us."
Cox said that Mitchell was the difference in the win.
"We have extra confidence when we play behind him," said Cox. "Scott Mitchell is Scott Mitchell, and he gives a great shot to win each time he takes the mound."
Junior Craig Sheridan also contributed a double for the Seahawks.
South River 11, Arundel 1
A 000 010 -- 1 3 0
SR 003 404 – 11 10 0
Ghardi, Hibbs (4) and Brandt; Mitchell and Gratz. HR: A – Robinson. 2B: SR – Sheridan, Mitchell.