ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- It wasn't Joey Dodrill's first game of the season, and not even his first time on the mound this year. But in a way, it was like starting over, and it couldn't have gone much better for the St. Albans senior pitcher.
Dodrill fired a five-inning one-hitter with six strikeouts and two walks Thursday night as St. Albans blanked visiting George Washington 10-0 at Loftis Field. Also one of the hitting stars for the Red Dragons (13-5), Dodrill went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
It marked the first start of the season for Dodrill, one of the team's top pitchers who missed the first four games and has been limited to just six prior innings - all in relief - because of a strained shoulder on his right arm.
"There weren't really any nerves,'' said Dodrill, who allowed only an infield single to Tanner Sorrells in the second inning. "I really just wanted to get out there and do what I always do, get back in a rhythm. It felt great - five innings, seven innings, it didn't matter.''
George Washington (12-8) entered the game averaging 71/2 runs and nine hits and had only been shut out once previously this season. But the Patriots got only four runners aboard against Dodrill and he picked one of them off and induced a double-play grounder to wipe out another.
"We've just kind of been bringing him along slow,'' said SA coach Rick Whitman. "I asked him Monday if he felt like he was ready for a start, and he said yes. We've been building his pitch count up, and he threw the ball well tonight.''
Dodrill was also lethal at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double and driving in three runs to spark a 14-hit attack for St. Albans. Phoenix Shrewsbury also had three hits.
"He helps our lineup a lot with his bat,'' Whitman said of Dodrill, "and obviously with his pitching. He's good defensively at first base. He missed the first four games [as the team went 1-3] and we've only lost twice since he's come back. He's a three-year starter and any time you take a three-year starter out of your lineup, it's going to have an effect, so getting him back has been big.''
Dodrill went 5-2 last year with 49 strikeouts in 401/3 innings and was primed for a big senior season before his shoulder ailment.
"All through winter in the gym working out,'' Dodrill said, "it was always, 'This is going to be my season. This is going to be the year I've always looked forward to since I was little.' Coming back is a little different halfway through the season to have my first start. But there wasn't really anything that changed, just getting back to what I always do.''