Thursday, March 4, 2010
MA off to 2-2 start
The Marshall Academy baseball season got underway Monday, Feb. 22, as the Patriots split a doubleheader with the Memphis Home School.
In the opener, the Eagles won a pitchers’ duel 3-2 and in the nightcap the Patriots won 11-1.
Junior catcher Josh Vanderburg got MA on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third as he hit a ringing double to left field. After a wild pitch advanced him to third, Tyler Childers brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
The Eagles responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth off of Patriot starter Joey Brock. A leadoff walk, followed by a double and single allowed the two runs. MA trailed 2-1.
MA fought back in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Elgin Lafever plated Parker James with a two out, RBI double to even the score at 2.
Senior left-handed pitcher Will Patton relieved Brock to start the sixth. A one out walk followed by a double allowed the go-ahead run.
The Patriots had opportunities in the sixth and seventh but were unable to capitalize.
Brock and Patton combined to strike out nine and limit the Eagles to three hits, but six walks directly led to two runs.
“They both threw the ball really well, but in a close game every free pass you give the other team is magnified,” coach Johnny Ray said.
Offensively, MA stranded nine base runners.
“We had our chances,” he said. “I know it’s early in the season but we have to do a better job of situational hitting. We have to make the most of our opportunities at the plate.”
In game two, the Patriots received strong pitching performances from a pair of underclassmen and the bats came alive to avoid the sweep. Freshman Dustin Allen pitched the first three innings, allowing only an unearned run in the first, and eighth grader John Wesley Ray followed Allen by striking out seven in three innings.
Parker James was the sparkplug for the offense as he reached base in all five plate appearances with three hits and a pair of walks. He scored two runs.
MA scored three in the first and four in the second to jump to a commanding lead. Allen’s two-run triple gave the Patriots a 7-1 lead after two.
Allen (1-0) earned his first varsity pitching decision as he struck out four and allowed two hits. Ray got the save with three scoreless innings
“Dustin and J.W. really threw the ball well,” Coach Ray said. “Once we can get everyone in shape this is gong to be a deep pitching staff.”
On Thursday, MA played Class AAA Pillow Academy in a tournament hosted by Magnolia Heights. The Patriot bats remained silent for most of the game but came to life when needed to upend the Mustangs 3-2.
Patton drew the starting nod on the mound and was dominant for most of his four innings of work. Pillow only managed one hit but it came after Patton had walked the bases loaded in the fourth. He struck out eight
Heading into the bottom of the sixth, MA had mustered only one base runner, but Joey Omedeo and Jake Omedeo ignited the comeback with pinch-hit singles to lead off the frame. James followed with an RBI single and two batters later, the Patriots got a break when a Childers ground ball was misplayed, leading to two runs.
James (1-0), who had entered the game in relief of Patton to start the fifth, nailed the win down with a three-up-three-down seventh. He struck out five and did not allow a run or hit. At the plate he had two of the four Patriot hits.
“I am proud of Parker and how he is playing,” Coach Ray said. “He has really stepped up as a leader on this team. His whole game has evolved.”
On Friday Marshall returned to Senatobia to face Bayou Academy in the Magnolia Heights Tournament. Bayou was the beneficiary of 12 walks by the Patriot pitching corps as they won 16-7.
The bright spot in the loss was the fact that the Patriots pounded out 13 hits led by James’ five for five performance. James continued his torrid hitting streak as his batting average climbed to .769 (10-13) through four games. Jake Omedeo and Jacob McMinn each had two hits, with both also collecting a double. Omedeo also had three RBI.
Marshall (2-2 to start the season) will be hosting the Tracey Rodgers Memorial Tournament this week with H.W. Byers, Byhalia and Memphis Home School participating.
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