Thursday, April 7, 2011
Patriots take three from West Memphis
By BARRY BURLESON
A District 1-AA championship is within the grasp of the Marshall Academy.
The Patriots, who swept West Memphis Christian (Ark.) last week, face Kirk Academy next in their final three-game district series of the season. MA enters this week’s competition at 7-2 in the district and 14-8 overall.
“We need a sweep (versus the Raiders),” coach Bart Jenkins said. “A sweep assures the district title.”
W. Memphis Game 1
The Patriots survived a five-error game and beat the Black Knights 7-2 in the first game of a twinbill Tuesday of last week.
“I thought in the first two games of the series we were lethargic,” Coach Jenkins said. “A conference win is a conference win, but we should have scored more runs.”
MA had eight hits. Getting two each were Elgin Lafever, Jacob McMinn and Aaron McAlexander. McMinn had a double and McAlexander a triple. Josh Vanderburg homered in the fourth inning.
Matt Rappa had two runs-batted-in on a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice.
Tyler Cook recorded the pitching win. In four innings of work, he struck out three, walked one and gave up two hits. Dustin Allen followed. In three innings, he fanned two, walked none and gave up two hits.
W. Memphis Game 2
Three Marshall Academy pitchers combined for a one-hitter as the host Pats won the nightcap 5-0.
The Black Knights’ lone hit was an infield single in the top of the seventh, their final turn at bat.
Evan Hickman started on the hill and got the victory. He struck out four and walked one in three innings. Cole Davis fanned one and walked two in two innings of work. McAlexander closed with two innings of relief. He struck out four, walked one and gave up the hit.
MA, which scored three runs in the first and two in the sixth, had nine hits in the game. Lafever connected for three singles. Hunter Vanderburg, like his older brother in the first game, homered. He had a two-run blast in the first inning. Allen had two hits – a double and a single. Hickman tripled.
W. Memphis Game 3
The Patriots turned it up a notch for the third game of the series. They crushed the Black Knights 11-0 Thursday in Holly Springs, a game moved from West Memphis due to a wet field.
Nine Patriots contributed in an 12-hit attack.
“In game three we definitely played better than we did in the other two,” Coach Jenkins said. “We continue to improve as far swinging the bat. The bottom half of the lineup is starting to produce, and we’re more efficient running the bases and scoring runners when they get on base.”
J. Vanderburg carried the big stick. He had two doubles and a single and four RBIs. Adding two hits each were Lafever and McAlexander. Chase Carpenter led off the fifth inning with a solo homer to center field.
Joey Brock gave up only one hit in four innings on the mound. He struck out five and walked one. His twin brother, Jordan, threw one inning. He fanned two and walked one.
The Pats and Black Knight each made an error.
Marshall scored six runs in the first inning. Five Patriots were hit by pitches in that inning.
Marshall vs. ECS
The Patriots closed the week with a 14-10 loss to powerful Evangelical Christian School from Memphis, Tenn.
“It’s the best job we’ve done from an offensive standpoint against the best team we’ve played all year,” Jenkins said. “They’re hands-down four or five runs better than anybody we’ve faced. They’re a very, very, very good baseball team.”
MA fell behind early. ECS sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and scored five runs. The first three batters walked. A grand slam followed, plus a solo shot.
ECS batted 12 in the third and scored eight runs to go up 13-2.
But the Patriots battled back – scoring one in the bottom of the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth.
The Patriots had seven hits. Lafever had a triple and a single, Fitzpatrick a double and a single and three RBIs and Rappa a double and a single and one RBI. Chad Mitchell knocked in two runs on a single.
MA pitchers issued 10 walks in the game. ECS had eight hits.
H. Vanderburg took the loss. Cook, McAlexander and Vince Hoyt also pitched.
The Pats committed no errors.
“We got behind the eight-ball early, but overall it was a well-played game both ways,” Jenkins said. “We gave ourselves a chance two win, and it’s been that way all year.
“ECS had a couple of D-1 players and a couple of D-2 players. They’re extremely talented.
“All about Friday night was positive, despite the loss.”
The Patriots hosted Kirk Tuesday. They go to Grenada Thursday at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader against the same team. MA visits DeSoto Central Saturday at 5 p.m.
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