Thursday, March 17, 2011
MA takes first district series
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy began District 1-AA play last week by taking two of three from North Delta.
MA dropped the opener at Patriot Field but bounced back to win game two at home and the decisive contest at Batesville.
“We took care of business,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “It was pretty clutch for us to win the series after losing game one.”
The Pats could muster just three hits and committed three errors in a 5-2 loss Thursday.
Pitcher Joey Brock gave up just one earned run. He struck out six, walked three and gave up six hits.
“We just couldn’t come through in game one,” Jenkins said. “The errors hurt us.”
Josh Vanderburg had a double for MA. Evan Hickman and Elgin Lafaver each connected for a single.
Kevin Fitzpatrick’s grand slam in the fourth inning gave the Patriots a huge lift as they beat the Green Wave 8-2 in the nightcap Thursday.
Marshall scored six runs in the fourth.
Fitzpatrick also had a single in the game to lead a seven-hit attack.
Dustin Allen earned the pitching victory. In five and a third innings, he struck out three, walked one and gave up four hits. Cole Davis and Tyler Cook tossed in relief - each striking out one and giving up a hit apiece.
Getting one hit each for the Patriots were Dakota Dailey (one run-batted-in), Aaron McAlexander (one RBI), Hickman, Joey Brock and Jacob McMinn (one RBI).
Marshall visited North Delta Friday and rode the arm of McAlexander to an 8-3 win. He struck out 12.
Fitzpatrick again provided the big hit. His double in the fifth scored two runs.
Picking up one RBI each were Lafever, McAlexander, J. Vanderburg and Hickman. Joey Brock also had a hit.
North Delta, which had six hits, jumped to an early lead thanks to a two-run homer in the first.
“Games two and three were very well played by both teams,” Jenkins said.
“We still have a stretch of district games remaining (versus Indianola, West Memphis and Kirk). We’re not close to peaking, but we’re continuing to improve.”
MA vs. Jaguars
In their lone non-conference contest of the week, Class AA private school Marshall dropped a 7-5 heartbreaker in extra innings to Class 6A public school DeSoto Central.
“We just missed some opportunities,” Jenkins said. “We should have won it. I was very, very pleased with the effort. We can take positive things from the loss – getting us ready for the bigger picture.”
The Jaguars silenced the MA home crowd in the top of the first with a three-run blast.
But the Pats slowly battled back – scoring one in the first, one in the third and one in the fifth. The game went to extra innings tied at 3.
DeSoto Central scored one in the top of the eight on a single up the middle.
Marshall answered when Chad Mitchell’s grounder was not fielded cleanly by the Jaguars and Joey Brock, who had singled, scored on a collision at the plate.
The game was knotted at 4.
DeSoto Central then crossed three runners in the top of the ninth.
Lafever led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and later scored, but that’s all MA could produce.
The Patriots had nine hits. Fitzpatrick and Lafever each had a double and a single. McAlexander had two singles. MA left eight runners stranded.
DeSoto Central had eight hits and left six on base. The Jaguars committed three errors and Marshall two.
Allen, who threw in relief of Hunter Vanderburg, took the mound loss. Hickman also pitched late in the contest.
“Hunter (Vanderburg) gave us a good chance to win,” Coach Jenkins said. “He threw 84 pitches, 22 in the first inning. After that home run, he did a fantastic job.”
MA made some base-running blunders early and later stranded runners on third in both the sixth and seventh innings.
“When you lose a game like that, you don’t want the players looking back,” Jenkins said. “The blame goes to the coach. We got 100 percent effort from all our guys, the entire team.”
He thanked the fans for their support on a warm Saturday and urged more in the community to get involved in Patriot baseball.
“We’re a fun team to watch,” he said.
Marshall (8-3) is playing in the Oxford Tournament this week. The Pats host Indianola next Tuesday, March 22, with the B-game starting at 5 p.m.
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