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March 18, 2013
For those of you who are unfamiliar with my weekly, in-season baseball coverage, I'll review the major results every seven days in these virtual pages. I'll also present my weekly (revised) Top Ten, as well as any thoughts or observations when necessary. The 2013 season has just begun, but we've already had some telling match-ups, including a #1 vs. #2 clash. Here's a look back at the first week of the season:
Thomas Jefferson 10, Armstrong 5: Jalen Rudolph struck out ten in a complete-game victory for the Vikings, while Zach Smith and Aaron Silver added 2 RBI apiece. Armstrong, which, as per usual, will not play a full varsity schedule this year, was led by Kenyun Hill's seven strikeouts and Sherrod McCray's two-run triple.
Highland Springs 8, Hopewell 6: The Springers got off to a good start by taking down Hopewell in a non-district clash. HS trailed 6-3 before a five-run fifth made the difference. Ryan Scott led the way with a 3-for-4 day for Highland Springs. Zach Rivera of Hopewell had a two-run triple.
Manchester 6, Monacan 0: Nick Butts went the distance and struck out ten Chiefs as the Lancers won their season (and district) opener. Butts held Monacan to three hits, one of which was Kevin Granger's double. In addition to the dominant pitching effort, Manchester got offensive help from Andrew Saunders' two-run homer and Alexander Mauricio's 2-for-3 day.
Atlee 10, Clover Hill 6: The Raiders erased a 4-0, fourth-inning deficit and cruised to a 10-6 victory in the season-opener for both squads. Luke Bolka was 3-for-5 and Dalton Ruch added a 2-for-3 performance. Clover Hill managed to chase ace Bolka off the mound after taking that lead, but the Raiders' offense proved to be too much for the Cavs, who were led by 2-for-3 days from Chris King and Keith Roberts.
Patrick Henry 15, Thomas Jefferson 1 (5 innings): The Patriots dominated the Vikings in the Colonial opener for both squads. Jared Dorton got a complete-game, slaughter-rule-shortened win, but also had a 3-for-3, 3 RBI day at the plate. Nathan Steele added 3 RBI of his own on 2-for-2 hitting. Zach Smith and Jalen Rudolph were each 2-for-2 for TJ, accounting for four of the Vikings' five hits.
James River 3, Dinwiddie 1: The conventional wisdom on James River was that they would have to rely on a great lineup to power past teams this year. That wasn't the case in this one, as ace Jack Roberts was almost untouchable in five innings of work. Dinwiddie's Jamar Hinton wasn't far off that pace, however, as he allowed only one run through the first four innings before departing. In all, the Rapids got only five hits, two of which came off the bat of Cullen Large, but James River allowed only two hits by the Generals. I think both teams can take some positive things away from this outcome.
Hanover 11, Cosby 8: A season-opening game being a #1 vs. #2 match-up doesn't happen often, but that's exactly what we got when Cosby tangled with Hanover. The Hawks struggled early against Ryan Bickford, but began to hit their stride the second time through the order. Down 1-0 going to the fourth, Hanover delivered three runs in that inning, two in the fifth, and six more in the sixth to break the game open. Derek Casey was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, Keith Searles was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Caymen Richardson was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI to lead the Hawks. Mathew Corley picked up the victory in relief, despite giving up 5 earned runs in 2 and 2/3 innings of work. On the Cosby side, David Walsh, Hunter Williams, Ryan Hall, and Riley Wilson had two hits apiece, while A. J. Nicely was 3-for-3. Cosby rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to close the gap to 11-8, but Hanover's Hayden Moore got the final out (and the save) by getting Tyler Fitzgerald to pop out to Trevor Denton with the bases loaded. In all, Cosby left eight men on base.
Colonial Heights 8, Henrico 3: The Colonials scored in all but one inning to earn an 8-3 victory over the Warriors. Mack Krupp had 2 RBI, Carter Cox was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Seth Markins and Nick Myer were each 2-for-4 for Colonial Heights. Elliot Cliborne (2-for-2) and Mo James (2-for-3) had four of Henrico's five hits.
Varina 5, Thomas Dale 5 (tie): The Blue Devils and Knights finished with a rare tie when, after seven complete, the umpires determined that it was too dark to continue. Varina's Eli Matthews led the Devils with a 2-for-3, 3-RBI game that included a double and a triple. Dale's Collin Fleischer was 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI.
Patrick Henry 4, Maggie Walker 3: Patrick Henry scored one run in each of the first four innings, then held on for a 4-3 victory over Colonial foe Maggie Walker. Joe Buerhen paced PH with a 2-for-3, RBI game, also picking up the save in relief of Kyle Palmer. Palmer pitched well after allowing a first-inning, two-run homer to the Dragons' Jason Hunter. The Patriots' Brandon Lloyd was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles as well.
Douglas Freeman 6, Hermitage 1: Freeman broke open a 2-1 game with a four-run sixth, setting the stage for a season-opening Colonial victory. The key hit belonged to Jack Gerstenmaier, who cleared the bases during that sixth-inning rally, driving in three runs in all. Ethan Payne added a double and 2 RBI for the Rebels. Andrew Huddleston doubled for the Panthers.
Meadowbrook 8, Highland Springs 0: The Monarchs got their season off to a winning start behind a combined one-hit pitching effort from Chuck Lafoon and Anderson Gonzalez. Gonzalez also went 2-for-3 at the plate. Khalil Breedlove added a two-run double for the Monarchs. The Springers' Jalen Carter collected the lone Highland Springs hit.
L. C. Bird 3, Manchester 2: The Skyhawks rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun Manchester and escape with a narrow district victory. Corey Anderson (2-for-4 with one of the RBI in the seventh) and Darius Gillus (2-for-3) led the way for Bird. Gillus delivered the game-winning, walk-off single. Bryce Harman picked up the victory in relief. Andrew Saunders led Manchester with a 2-for-4, RBI performance. The loss spoiled a great pitching effort from Lancer ace Jackson Lane, who had held Bird scoreless through the first six innings.
Midlothian 3, Glen Allen 2 (8): The Trojans picked up where they left off during a surprisingly-successful 2012, topping Glen Allen in eight innings. The Jaguars had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth following a pitcher's duel between Glen Allen's Chance Pauley and Midlothian's Corey McCollum. However, the Trojans' Kevin Oakey delivered a game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth, part of a 2-for-4 afternoon.
Clover Hill 12, Monacan 1: Chris King's one-hitter led the Cavaliers to an important, early-season victory over Monacan in the Dominion District. Brett Jones led Clover Hill with 4 RBI on a 2-for-4 day, including a home run. Keith Roberts added a double and 2 RBI on a 2-for-4 afternoon. Alex Mullins had Monacan's lone hit, a third-inning double.
Prince George 6, Benedictine 4: The Royals earned a nice non-district win in this public / private clash thanks in part to a 2-for-3, 2-RBI game from Mark King. King also collected the victory via a relief appearance. Reid Leonard paced the Cadets with a 2-for-4 game.
Atlee 7, Patrick Henry 5: The Raiders never trailed, but this was a tight battle throughout, with Atlee ultimately prevailing over their Hanover County rival. Luke Bolka, Steve Edmunds, and Evan Swecker had two hits each for the Raiders, part of a 15-hit attack. Nathan Steele and Kyle Palmer of Patrick Henry both went 2-for-3.
Midlothian 9, Benedictine 4: The Trojans scored five runs in their first at-bat and never looked back, putting together their second impressive win already in the young season. Rawlings Cumbea picked up the win on the mound, and Zach Ayoub (HR, 3 RBI), Jacob Moore (3-for-4), Wade Yeary (HR), Michael Blackburn (2-for-3), and Kevin Oakey (2-for-4) helped provide the offensive firepower.
Hermitage 12, Varina 3: The Panthers jumped on Varina early, building a 6-1 lead through two innings, then scored six more in the fourth for good measure. Luke Nigro homered for Hermitage, part of a 2-for-2, 2-RBI day. Andrew Huddleston, Zach Overstreet, and Dylan Stowell each went 2-for-3 for the Panthers. Varina's Darian Carpenter homered and hit a double, while Travis Shupe had a double and 2 RBI in the loss.
Mills Godwin 8, J. R. Tucker 1: Brian Shealy and A. J. Perkins had 2 RBI apiece to lead Godwin to a Colonial District win over J. R. Tucker in the season opener for both squads. Nic Phelps struck out five before giving way to Aaron McGarity in the sixth, earning Phelps the win. Tucker's Austin Pawlowski was 2-for-3 in the defeat.
Douglas Freeman 7, Deep Run 2: The Wildcats mustered only one hit against Daniel Lynch and Miller Tevvett, as Freeman powered its way to a decisive district victory over Deep Run. Trent Young went 2-for-4 and Logan Harvey was 3-for-4 to pace the Rebels, who got off to a fast 2-0 start in the Colonial.
Here's my new Top Ten (through games of 3/17):
The New Central Region Top Ten: (Preseason Rank)
1. Hanover (1-0) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2. Cosby (0-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
3. James River (1-0) . . . . . . . . . . 3
4. Mills Godwin (1-0) . . . . . . . . . 4
5. Douglas Freeman (2-0) . . . . . . 5
6. Atlee (2-0) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
7. Matoaca (0-0) . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
8. Manchester (1-1) . . . . . . . . . . 8
9. Lee-Davis (0-0) . . . . . . . . . . . 9
10. Colonial Heights (1-0) . . . . . 10
Dropped Out: None
- - - - -
And, finally, here are some "Thoughts and Observations"
- As indicated above, the Top Ten didn't change much from the preseason. Some teams have not played a game as of the calculation of the new Top Ten. I try to keep things fairly static until everyone has played multiple games. There are certainly several teams that can make a claim to the Top Ten at this point, but I want the sample size to get just a bit larger before I start shuffling teams in and out.
- Having said that, I think the fact that Hanover beat Cosby head-to-head merited a flip-flop at the two top spots.
- A couple of teams just outside the Top Ten made pretty strong cases for themselves this week. Midlothian, in particular, had an impressive showing this week. The Trojans knocked off Glen Allen in extra innings and then topped Benedictine 9-4. Midlothian took big steps forward over the last two years, and this season has gotten of to a start that suggests a third straight good season may be in order.
As this is the final season of the Central Region, I'm going to devote some space each week to looking back at some of the many memorable moments in Central Region baseball history.
What better place to begin than the very first Central Region baseball championship.
The regional tournament began in 1968, even before the state's massive realignment in 1970 that classified schools into A, AA, and AAA. The system in 1968 was still based around the old I/II/III model. However, for the first time under a modern format, the VHSL wanted to have a state baseball tournament.
That necessitated some way to create a bracket. Hence, the Central Region baseball tournament was born. Each of the other regions (Eastern, Northern, and, as it was known then, Western) would have their own tournaments to fill out the state tournament field.
There were only two I-A districts in the Central Region at that point, the Central and the Capital. And neither substantially resembled the districts as we know them today. But the important part to remember is that only the district regular-season champions qualified for the Central Region tournament until 1976.
So, in 1968, that meant that the Central Region Tournament consisted of one game.
In that contest, the Capital District champion Highland Springs Springers did battle with Central District title-holder Lee-Davis. The game itself didn't match its historic significance. Highland Springs, behind ace Lewis Brooks, dominated the Confederates in an 8-0 whitewash.
Brooks (11-0) scattered five hits and struck out eight, going the distance to claim the first-ever Central Region baseball championship. The offensive star of the game was Ben Riggin, who went 2-for-3, drove in two runs, and scored two more. The Springers handled L-D's top pitcher, Johnny Redd, with little difficulty. Redd surrendered eight runs, seven of them earned, on 10 hits in 5 and 2/3 innings of work, dropping his record to 8-3 for the year.
The Springers advanced to play Western Region champion GW-Danville. They, and Brooks, won again. That 3-1 victory set up a state championship game between Highland Springs and Northern Region champ James Madison of Vienna.
Unfortunately for the Springers, Brooks finally suffered his first loss of the year in that state final. Madison prevailed 4-3 before 1,500 fans in Charlottesville. Warhawk outfielder Ron Slingerman's two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth gave Madison the lead for good, with Madison hurler Mike Wallace getting the win to complete his season with a 12-0 pitching mark.
Two years later, Highland Springs would capture the first state title for the Central Region, winning the final Group I-A championship in 1970.
It should be another great season in the Central Region, and stay tuned to VirginiaPreps.com for all the latest news, information, and profiles you need to stay plugged in to Central Virginia baseball! You can connect with Tom on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/CRTomGarrett and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CentralRegionTom
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