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March 25, 2013

Central Region Week in Review: March 25, 2013

A week with some weather issues and some blowouts also featured some important early-season district battles. Here's a look back at Central Region baseball action from last week:

James River 8, L. C. Bird 1: The Rapids jumped on Bird early and cruised to an 8-1 victory. Already up 3-0 going to the bottom of the third, Will Gregory's grand slam was a big part of a five-run inning that put the game away. Kelvin Marte also homered for James River, and Jack Roberts got the win. Bird's Darius Gillus was 2-for-3.

Douglas Freeman 5, Monacan 1: Mitchell Crowder struck out six in six innings of work to help propel the Rebels to a 5-1, non-district win over Monacan. Ethan Payne's two-run double and Logan Harvey's 2-for-3, 2-RBI day paced Freeman offensively. The Chiefs' Alex Mullins was 1-for-3 with an RBI.

J. R. Tucker 13, Varina 6: Tucker broke open the game with a seven-run fourth to roll past the Blue Devils in a Colonial/Capital clash. Chase McPherson homered and drove in three runs, while Brandon Malinak was 2-for-3 and scored three times. Varina's Cole Dunkum hit a home run and had 3 RBI in a losing effort.

Dinwiddie 4, Hanover 3: The Generals left Hanover in stunned disbelief after scoring all four of their runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Up to that point, the Hawks seemed to be in control of the game after two Trevor Denton RBI and a solo shot by Chris Gilliam. Rashad Stewart had a key, two-run hit during the last-ditch rally, and Jamar Hinton got the win after coming on in relief in the fifth.

Patrick Henry 13, John Marshall 0 (5 innings): Jared Dorton tossed a five-inning perfect game for the Patriots, striking out 12 of a possible 15 batters along the way. Patrick Henry banged out 13 runs on 12 hits in just four at-bats, led by Conner Walton's 2-for-3, 3-RBI day that helped the Patriots improve to 3-0 in the Colonial.

Matoaca 11, Meadowbrook 0 (5 innings): This one was fairly tight until the fourth, when seven runs for the Warriors turned a 2-0 game into a lopsided affair. Jake Bailey paced Matoaca with a 2-for-4 day that included a double and 3 RBI. Meadowbrook's only hit was a double by Chuck Lafoon. The Monarchs also struggled in the field, committing seven errors in the slaughter-rule-shortened game.

Hermitage 21, Thomas Jefferson 3 (5 innings): The Panthers had no trouble dispatching the Vikings in a one-sided contest. Tyler Bailey was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and Jacob Hancock was 2-for-3 with 4 RBI. Panther hurler Christian Henderson earned the win and struck out 11. Juan Braxton was 1-for-3 and had a stolen base for Thomas Jefferson.

Dinwiddie 19, Petersburg 5 (5 innings): The Crimson Wave got off to a good start last week with a win over Armstrong, and they also took a 3-0 lead in this game. However their fortunes changed as the Generals scored five in the bottom of the first and thirteen in the bottom of the second. Jamar Hinton doubled twice and drove in three runs, while Austin Mostoller was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI. Petersburg's James Byers was 2-for-2 with 2 RBI in the losing effort.

Atlee 11, Deep Run 1 (5 innings): Unlike the other teams that lost by double-digit margins on Thursday, Deep Run isn't accustomed to falling in such a manner. But that's exactly what the Atlee Raiders impressively did to the Wildcats last week. Kenner Berry was 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, and 2 RBI, while Caleb Meyer added a 2-for-3, 2-run game that also included two stolen bases. Daniel Khoury drove in the run for Deep Run, which actually led 1-0 going to the bottom of the second inning before Atlee tagged the Wildcats for a half-dozen runs. Three Raider pitchers combined to hold Deep Run to one run on two hits.

James River 6, Midlothian 3 (9 innings): Unlike the aforementioned blowouts, the Trojans and Rapids played a nail-biter last Thursday. Midlothian led 1-0 after an inning, James River took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, and then the Trojans rallied back to go up 3-2 in the sixth. The Rapids managed to tie it in their half of the seventh, then scored three in the ninth to go ahead for good. Stibel Aleman was 2-for-5 with a triple and 2 RBI for the Rapids, while Christian Redman was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI of his own. Zach Ayoub and Matt Miller had two hits each for the Trojans.

Cosby 7, L. C. Bird 1: I covered this one in-depth with a full game report (including a link to HIGHLIGHTS), but Hunter Williams was sensational as Cosby won an important Dominion District victory over the homestanding Skyhawks.

Prince George 3, Hopewell 1: Cody Casey out-dueled Hopewell's Zack Rivera as Prince George downed the Blue Devils in a Central District match-up. Rivera allowed only two hits, but the Royals plated three runs to get the win. Casey allowed one run on just three hits, striking out 11, also going 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Thomas Dale 8, Colonial Heights 5: The Knights picked up a great district win over Colonial Heights, scoring three in the sixth and two in the seventh to turn a 5-3 deficit into an 8-5 victory. Collin Fleischer was 2-for-3 with a double and struck out six for Dale. Tommy Barron was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and 2 RBI, Cody Boydstun was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, and Maurice Gothe added two doubles and an RBI. The Colonials' Mack Krupp was 2-for-4 with a homer and eight strikeouts, while Seth Markins went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.

Mills Godwin 3, Lee-Davis 1: Nic Phelps held Lee-Davis to one unearned run and five hits, striking out five in a comple-game victory. He also delivered a bases-clearing double in the fourth that provided all three of Godwin's runs. The Confederates' Justin Sorokowski was 2-for-2 and scored the Lee-Davis run.

Glen Allen 9, Hermitage 1: The Jaguars picked up a victory over the school from which much of the Glen Allen zone was cut, winning 9-1 in a non-district clash. Former Hermitage standout Chance Pauley struck out seven in six innings, allowing just a single earned run in getting the win for the Jaguars. Pauley also went 3-for-4. Trent Tutwiler was 3-for-3 for Glen Allen, and Kameron Simms went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Andrew Huddleston had the Hermitage RBI.

Cosby 8, Matoaca 5: Cosby topped Matoaca in a Top Ten battle on the strength of a five-run fourth inning, withstanding a late Warrior rally in the process. H. J. Ellis paced the Titans, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Michael Flanagan picked up the win in relief. Matoaca's Brandon Traylor was 2-for-4 with an impressive 4 RBI.

Douglas Freeman 14, J. R. Tucker 1 (5 innings): The Rebels crushed their traditional rivals in a slaughter-rule-shortened contest thanks to a disastrous first inning for Tucker in which the Tigers allowed twelve runs. Logan Harvey led the way with a 2-for-2, 6-RBI game that included a grand slam in that first inning. Kyle Farkas added a two-run double. Tucker's Jesse Blaha was 1-for-2 with a double and scored the Tigers' only run.

Mills Godwin 6, Deep Run 0: Godwin continued to look impressive early, and Deep Run fell to 0-3, as the Eagles shut out the Wildcats. Aaron McGarity looked strong in five innings of work, striking out seven and getting the victory. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. Nick Stancil and Brandon Soden each added an RBI for Godwin. Deep Run managed just two hits against Godwin pitching, one from Jack Click and one from Jack Connolly.

Hopewell 3, Highland Springs 0: Will Avery's one-hitter allowed the Blue Devils to bounce back after the loss to Prince George, as he and Hopewell slipped by Highland Springs 3-0. Drake Scearce scored twice for the Blue Devils, who picked up their first victory of the season in this game. Me'Kel Crawford pitched well in relief for the Springers, but Avery's shutout sealed Highland Springs' fate.

Lee-Davis 6, Patrick Henry 5 (10 innings): Sean King was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Cody Powers doubled in two runs to help lead Lee-Davis to a come-from-behind, extra-innings win over county rival Patrick Henry. The Patriots led 5-2 before Lee-Davis rallied for force extra innings. Andrew Sargeant knocked in the game-winning run for the Confederates in the bottom of the tenth.

Here's my new Top Ten (through games of 3/22):

The New Central Region Top Ten: (Last Week)

1. Hanover (1-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

2. Cosby (2-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

3. James River (3-0) . . . . . . . . . . 3

4. Mills Godwin (3-0) . . . . . . . . . 4

5. Douglas Freeman (4-0) . . . . . . 5

6. Atlee (3-0) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

7. Matoaca (1-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

8. Manchester (1-1) . . . . . . . . . . 8

9. Lee-Davis (1-1) . . . . . . . . . . . 9

10. Dinwiddie (1-1) . . . . . . . . . NR

Dropped Out: Colonial Heights (1-1)

- - - - -

And, finally, here are some "Thoughts and Observations"

- The Top Ten didn't change much this week, with the exception of Colonial Heights dropping out after a loss to Thomas Dale, replaced by a Dinwiddie team that has a close loss to James River and a win over top-ranked Hanover to its credit. As I explained last week, the Top Ten stays fairly static during the early part of the year. I'm guessing that things won't really heat up until spring break, especially since this freak snowstorm will probably disrupt the schedule this week as well.

- Midlothian is another team that has looked impressive early. The Trojans boast two victories and an extra-innings loss to James River so far this year. Midlothian could be an emerging dark horse out of the Dominion District. Speaking of Midlothian . . .

This week's look back at the history of Central Region baseball takes us to 1992. The Central Region tournament opened with undefeated Midlothian as a fairly prohibitive favorite. The Trojans were 21-0, nationally-ranked, and had worn the region crown in '91. They had outscored opponents 203-29 during those 21 games. This was considered the pinnacle of a run of great teams at Midlothian that had won everything except for an elusive state championship.

Players like outfielder John Galloway, pitcher Joel Franks, first baseman Mike Austin, third baseman Steve Hamilton, shortstop Mike Walton, and catcher Butch Conner were all standouts for Midlo. The Trojans best player, and one of the greatest in Central Region history, was second baseman / pitcher Brad Chambers. Chambers hit .559 that year with a whopping nine home runs and 33 RBI in addition to going 8-0 on the mound with a 0.24 ERA. It looked like the pieces were in place for the Trojans to capture a AAA title to go along with the Group AA championship the school had won in 1985.

Yet, Midlothian had to rally twice to win the Dominion District tournament, then just barely slipped by a modestly-credentialed, 12-7 Prince George team in the regional quarter-finals. The Trojans beat the Royals 2-1 after trailing 1-0 until the sixth, tying the game at that point, then scoring another run in the bottom of the eighth to advance. Midlothian had to use both of their top pitchers in the game. They also committed three errors. Nonetheless, that victory set up a semi-final clash with perennial power Mills Godwin with a Group AAA tournament berth on the line.

It initially appeared as though the Trojans were back on track, having weathered their relative late-season shakiness. Franks got the start against Godwin after earning a relief win against PG. Midlothian scored a run in the first and another in the second to carry a 2-0 lead into the third inning.

Unfortunately, that third inning would prove fatal to any possible championship hopes the Trojans had.

Ten runs. After giving up 30 runs in 22 games, the Trojans allowed ten runs in a single inning to the Eagles. Franks left with a minor arm issue, and three subsequent relievers had trouble keeping Godwin from circling the bases. Three errors, a wild pitch, and an excruciating five walks in the inning, coupled with four Godwin hits, led to the disaster.

Down 11-2 after another run scored in the fourth, Midlothian tried in vain to retaliate. They did manage to score three in the fifth to close the gap a bit, but the horrific third inning proved to be far too much for the Trojans to overcome. They closed their year at a stellar 22-1, but without so much as an appearance in the state playoffs. Mills Godwin went on to bomb Dinwiddie 13-3 for the Eagles' second Central Region championship up to that point.

The funny thing is, the 1993 Midlothian team was expected to be just as good, if not better. Most of the top players returned for the Trojans, including Chambers and Franks. The Trojans began the year ranked #15 in the USA Today Top 25, and got as high as #11. However, they wound up 15-4, losing in the first round of the regional tournament to Douglas Freeman, who themselves lost in the very next round.

Although they never won a state title, or even a state playoff game, those early 90s Trojans are remembered by Central Region aficionados as an extremely talented, formidable squad that consistently were among the better teams in the region during that era.

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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