Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Marshall Academy baseball team clinched its fourth consecutive District 1-AA crown, sweeping Kirk Academy last week and finishing with an unblemished 12-0 mark in district play.
The Patriots look toward the Class AA state playoffs which begin Tuesday, April 20.
MA 11 Kirk 1
MA eighth-grader John Wesley Ray got the starting nod and kept Kirk off balance from the start as he scattered three hits en route to an 11-1 victory. The right-hander upped his season record to 2-1 on the mound as he struck out three and walked one. The only run he allowed, in the third inning, was unearned.
The Patriots got Ray all the runs he would need in the first inning as Jake Omedeo connected off Raider starting pitcher Will Thimmes for a three-run homer. It was his second of the year. Elgin Lafever, who had walked, and Josh Vanderburg, who had reached via a fielder’s choice, scored on the blast.
Marshall scored in every inning, capping off the game with four in the fifth, to invoke the mercy rule.
MA pounded out 14 hits, including Parker James’ four for four performance.
Tyler Childers, back in the starting lineup after a month absence was two for three with a double, a home run and three RBIs. Ray was the only other Patriot with a multiple hit game as he was two for three.
Marshall 7 Kirk 3
In the nightcap, Marshall jumped on Raider pitcher Luke Morman for five first-inning runs, then cruised to the 7-3 victory.
James and Lafever led off with singles, followed by Vanderburg’s walk and Jake Omedeo being hit by a pitch, forcing in the first run. Joey Omedeo’s fielder’s choice plated another run and Ray’s infield single loaded the bases again. Childers stepped to the plate and cleared the bases with a triple.
Marshall got two more runs in the third as Jake Omedeo was again hit by a pitch, promptly stole second, and Joey Omedeo brought him home with a single. Joey Omedeo would score later in the inning.
James (6-0) went the distance on the mound for the Patriots, allowing only one earned run in his outing. He struck out eight and walked two, working himself out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings.
“That was a good couple of games for us,” coach Johnny Ray said about the April 5 home contests. “Kirk is a rivalry game and we knew they were going to give us their best effort. My only complaint is we jumped to an early 7-1 lead and we didn’t continue to put pressure on them. We gave away too many at bats.”
Briarcrest 12 MA 1
The Patriots’ win streak was snapped at 14 games as they fell to Briarcrest on Tuesday of last week 12-1. Marshall mustered only four hits, a double by James, and singles by Byrd, Lafever and Childers during the loss.
The Saints, ranked 11th in the Commercial Appeal’s Dandy Dozen poll, scored three in the first and never looked back.
“I was very disappointed that we didn’t compete any better,” Ray said. “Briarcrest is a very good team, but I just don’t think we did the things that we had been doing for the past month. We got out-hustled. We just didn’t come to play and that is disheartening.”
Joey Brock suffered the loss on the mound as his record dropped to 4-2.
“There will be teams just as strong as Briarcrest that we will face once the playoffs start,” he said. “We must do a better job if we want to contend for a state title.”
Marshall 4 Kirk 2
The Patriots traveled to Grenada Thursday to face the Raiders for the series finale. Kirk played inspired ball and gave MA all it wanted. In the end, Patriot left-hander Will Patton was too much for the Raiders as he went the distance, striking out 13 in the 4-2 victory.
“This was a game that had a playoff atmosphere,” Coach Ray said. “Kirk was playing with a lot of pride and heart. Our kids matched their intensity.”
The game was scoreless into the fourth as Patton and Raider starter Morman locked into a pitchers duel. Morman, the starter in Monday’s second game, came back on short rest and seemed to have better command than earlier in the week.
Marshall broke the ice as they benefitted by a couple Kirk miscues. Jake Omedeo led off the frame as he reached on a Raider error. After two infield outs were recorded and Omedeo advanced to second, Ray hit a pop-up into shallow right field that the Kirk second baseman got to but couldn’t secure, allowing Omedeo to score.
In the fifth, the Patriots added two more runs. Lafever got things going as he was hit by pitch and advanced to second on an infield single by Childers. After a double steal placed them at second and third, Omedeo again hit a ball to Hamilton at third who threw it away allowing both base runners to score.
Kirk answered back in the bottom of the fifth, as the home team took advantage of a couple of walks and scored on Morman’s two RBI single to close the gap to 3-2.
Marshall added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as James reached on a single and stole second and third to get into scoring position. Childers’ ground-out produced the Pats’ fourth run.
Patton got the last three outs, aided by Jake Omedeo’s unassisted double play at first base to end the contest.
MA 9 Millington 2
In a game played at beautiful USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., Friday night, the Patriots capped the week off with a 9-2 victory over Millington Central High School.
USA Stadium was the home for USA Baseball from 1986 through 1996 and hosted more than 300 players who played Major League Baseball. Eighteen foreign countries have sent their national teams to Millington to play and 26 national championships have been decided at USA Stadium. More than 40,000 different college, high school, foreign, and Olympic players have played in Millington.
Freshman Dustin Allen (3-0) pitched five strong innings, striking out six while allowing four hits. At times he was a little wild, Coach Ray said, walking one and hitting four batters.
“Dustin may have been a little rusty because he hadn’t pitched in a game in about two weeks,” he said. “He made quality pitches when he needed to and gave us an opportunity to win. That’s all I can ask for. He battled.”
Joey Omedeo had an excellent night at the plate, going four for four with a double and scoring two runs. He also played error -free defense at third base. His batting average now stands at .324 on the year.
“Joey has worked really hard on his swing and it is paying off,” Ray said. “He has put in extra time in the cage. We need for him to continue to be productive in the middle of the lineup as the playoffs approach.”
Ray and Childers also had multiple hit games. Ray was two for four with a double and three RBIs, improving his season batting average to .367, and Childers was two for four with a run scored.
Brock pitched the last two innings, striking out three.
The Patriots improved to 25-4 on the year. They visited Lewisburg Monday, then will host Rossville Christian Academy Thursday at 5:30 p.m. It will be “Senior Night” at Patriot Field with festivities celebrating the accolades of Caleb Byrd, Tyler Childers, Parker James, Jake Omedeo and Will Patton. Byrd, Childers, Omedeo and Patton have been a part of four consecutive District 1-AA championship teams and will leave the school as the winningest combo with 95 victories and counting.
The Patriots begin the playoffs next Tuesday as they travel to Jackson to face Hillcrest Christian School. Game two and three (if necessary) will be at Patriot Field on Thursday, April 22. The Cougars feature Division 1 college signees Austin Hartzog (Ole Miss) and Josh Rogers (Southern Mississippi) as two of their top pitchers. Also, senior first baseman Caleb Baucum has signed with Hinds Community College.
“I expect a very evenly-matched series,” Ray said. “Hillcrest has always been in the upper echelon when you think about Mississippi private school baseball programs. They continually produce top quality college talent with a few advancing into the professional ranks.”
Former Cougar players like Seth Smith (Colorado-major leagues), Stephen Head (Cleveland), Justin Reed (Cincinnati) and Cody Satterwhite (Detroit) are all in professional baseball at this time.
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