Thursday, March 31, 2011
MA wins district series
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy moved to the front of the pack in the District 1-AA baseball race last week.
The Patriots, after losing game one to Indianola Academy, rebounded to take the next two and moved to 4-2 in the district and 11-7 overall.
Marshall committed five errors in a 6-1 home loss to the Colonels Tuesday of last week.
Indianola scored four runs in the first inning and added two in the seventh.
The Pats had six hits. Kevin Fitzpatrick connected for two doubles and a single. Chad Mitchell drove in the team’s only run with a single.
Aaron McAlexander was the losing pitcher. He struck out three, walked two and gave up five hits in six innings of work. Evan Hickman threw an inning – walking one, striking out one and giving up one hit.
MA stranded 10 base runners, which included leaving the bases loaded in both fourth and fifth innings.
“I think Monday night’s game (a one-run loss at Center Hill) had a direct impact on Tuesday’s game,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “We were really down Tuesday, and we faced a really good pitcher (for Indianola). We really did not give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Patriots visited the Delta Thursday and opened the doubleheader with a 4-2 victory over Indianola.
Dustin Allen went the distance for the win “on the hill.” He struck out five, walked one and gave up nine hits, several of those bloopers.
The Patriots had just five hits in the win.
Joey Brock, Mitchell and McAlexander knocked in a run each for Marshall, which scored two in the first and two in the fifth.
A big defensive play came in the fourth when right fielder Jacob McMinn threw out a runner at third base.
“In the first game Thursday, we played hard but not exceptionally good,” Coach Jenkins said. “But we came together as a team in the next game Thursday, and I am most proud of that.”
The Patriots’ bats came to life in the nightcap. Elgin Lafever’s triple, two doubles and four RBIs led a 16-hit attack as MA rolled 11-6.
“It’s the best game we’ve played as a team all year long,” Jenkins said. “The kids look very comfortable in the batter’s box. As a team, we’re starting to hit the ball better. We’ve been leaving a lot of people on base, but in this one, we took a giant leap forward.”
Matt Rappa also carried a hot bat. He connected for two singles and a double. He knocked in two runs.
“Matt has been scrapping for an opportunity to play, and he hit the ball well,” Jenkins said.
Josh Vanderburg had two doubles and an RBI, Fitzpatrick two singles and two RBIs, McAlexander a double and a single and Vince Hoyt two singles and an RBI.
The Patriots sent 10 men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored five runs. They also scored two in the third and four in the seventh.
Joey Brock threw all seven innings and recorded the mound victory. He fanned six, walked two and gave up five hits.
Five of Indianola’s runs came in the sixth off four hits and two MA errors. The Pats made three errors in the five-run win.
“The ball bounces weird,” Jenkins said. “Indianola had 20 hits in the series, and they probably hit three balls hard. That’s just the way it goes.”
Prior to the Indianola series, the Class AA Pats faced 4A public school Center Hill on the road Monday of last week and lost a 5-4 heartbreaker.
Marshall outhit the Mustangs eight to three.
Hunter Vanderburg of MA turned in a strong mound performance – giving up just one hit in five innings before leaving the game with a hurt arm.
“Hunter pitched a great game,” Jenkins said. “He has improved so much.”
Hickman pitched the sixth and Tyler Cook the seventh.
The Pats took the lead in the top of the seventh on J. Vanderburg’s RBI hit but couldn’t hang on.
J. Vanderburg had two hits. Fitzpatrick had a hit and three RBIs. McAlexander added a double.
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