Thursday, March 24, 2011
MA wins one of three in Oxford
By BARRY BURLESON
There was no spring break for the Marshall Academy baseball team.
Instead, the Patriots collided with some top-notch public school competition in the Oxford Tournament.
A scheduled game versus Horn Lake on Monday of last week was rained out. Then MA went 1-2, beating Senatobia and losing to Water Valley and DeSoto Central.
A rally try fell short as Marshall fell 6-5 to Water Valley Wednesday morning, March 16.
The Pats were down 5-1 after three innings and 6-3 entering the seventh. They plated two in the final inning.
“The kids battled back like they always do,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “The resiliency of this group continues to be great. We were one hit away from winning.”
Carrying the hot bats for MA were Kevin Fitzpatrick and Aaron McAlexander, each going three of four. Fitzpatrick scored two runs and had a run batted in.
Tyler Cook took the mound loss. Cole Davis threw one inning in relief.
The Patriots and the Blue Devils had eight hits each.
“We played extremely hard,” Jenkins said. “Missing that game early in the week hurt us. We came out sluggishly. Baseball is a lot about repetition.”
Marshall showcased one of its best hitting performances of the season and solid pitching, too, in a 3-1 win over Senatobia Wednesday evening.
The Patriots had 11 hits. Fitzpatrick led the way with three singles. Josh Vanderburg added two hits and all three RBIs.
Also getting two hits each were Hunter Vanderburg and Chase Carpenter.
“We hit the ball well in this game, but we’re still leaving a lot of runners on base,” Coach Jenkins said. “As far as quality at bats against good pitching, it was one of the better games we’ve had.”
Joey Brock and Dustin Allen limited the Warriors to just four hits. Brock got the win – going four innings, giving up three hits and striking out one. Allen got the save – going three innings, striking out two, walking one, hitting a batter and giving up one hit.
Senatobia’s lone run came on a second-inning homer.
Marshall scored two in the fourth and one in the sixth – all crossing thanks to singles by Josh Vanderburg.
The Patriots lost their second two-run game to big school DeSoto Central in less than a week. They fell 5-3 Thursday after a 7-5 setback March 12.
“It was another dogfight against them in which we just came up short,” Jenkins said.
MA had seven hits and DeSoto Central eight. The Pats committed three errors and the Jaguars two.
Marshall went up 1-0 in the top of the third. Chad Mitchell and Jacob McMinn had singles. Then McAlexander got a hit between first and second base to score Mitchell.
The Jags tied the game in the bottom of the third. They grabbed the lead for good in the fourth on a solo home run. They scored two more in the fifth and led 4-1.
The Patriots cut it to one in top of the sixth. Fitzpatrick doubled off the wall. J. Vanderburg doubled down the left field line to scored Fitzpatrick. Then Mitchell got a hit to send J. Vanderburg home.
DeSoto Central picked up insurance with a run in the bottom of the sixth.
MA had one base-runner in its final at bat – McAlexander on a single – but could not add any more runs.
McAlexander pitched five innings and took the loss. He struck out one and walked two. Davis tossed an inning in relief.
The Patriots (9-5) visited Central Hill Monday and hosted Indianola Academy Tuesday. They go to IA Thursday for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. They host West Union Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Our schedule has been grueling,” Jenkins said. “I believe the level of competition is really going to help us and work to our benefit. It’s one of the toughest schedules one my teams has ever played.
“We have 19 games left (regular season), and we’re looking forward to them. I know this group is capable of high quality baseball.
“Our pitching has been great all year. Our run support needs to increase. We’ve seen a lot of ‘number one’ pitchers. But I believe we have a good hitting team. We’re getting there.”
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