Thursday, May 12, 2011
MA goes out in state semi’s
By BARRY BURLESON
Unfortunately for Marshall Academy, one inning of their three-game playoff series with Simpson was the big story.
The Patriots, in game one at Magee, gave up 11 runs in the bottom of third. They battled back and lost 11-8, but found themselves stunned and trailing in the best-of-three series for the North State title.
“Anytime in the playoffs, winning game one is so important,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “We made way too many mistakes to win that game. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball. That gave Simpson the momentum and then we had to turn around and play the very next day.”
MA got a stellar pitching performance from Joey Brock and won game two. The Pats then dropped a one-run decision in game three and lost the series.
“I certainly did not see the series playing out the way it did,” Jenkins said. “It’s tough, but we had a great year. We got so much production from so many kids.”
The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Aaron McAlexander, who had singled, later scored on a Simpson error.
Then in the disastrous bottom of the third, the Cougars got 11 runs on four hits, five errors, a base on balls and two batters hit by a pitch.
MA fought back – scoring one in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh – but fell by three.
The Patriots had 13 hits to seven for Simpson in the game Wednesday of last week. Marshall left 10 men on base in the last five innings.
Top hitters for MA were Kevin Fitzpatrick with a single and two doubles; Dailey three hits; McAlexander a single and a home run; and Chad Mitchell two hits.
Dustin Allen went the distance on the mound and took the loss.
Joey Brock provided the strong arm and Mitchell the big hit as Marshall won 3-1 Thursday at home.
Brock tossed a one-hitter. Simpson’s only hit was a single in the top of the seventh. He struck out six and walked one.
With the Patriots trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Mitchell led off the inning by launching a solo homer over the left-field fence. A fired-up MA squad scored two more runs in the inning to grab the advantage.
Brock got three-up, three-down in the top of the sixth and faced just four batters in the seventh.
“Joey (Brock) has been extremely consistent all year long, and we had a great defensive effort behind him,” Jenkins said.
Simpson committed four errors and Marshall just one.
The Patriots had only four hits in the victory – two from Mitchell and two from Fitzpatrick.
Four hits were not enough in game three of the series at home Thursday. Marshall fell 3-2 and ended its season with a 25-12 record.
The Patriots trailed 3-0 going to the bottom of the seventh. That’s when they got two of their four hits. Evan Hickman singled and then Mitchell hit his second home run of the day, this one a two-run shot over the center-field fence that sliced the final deficit to one run.
Meanwhile, the Cougars’ bats got red hot in the contest to see which team would advance to the state championship series this week. They had 10 hits.
“When Simpson gets men on base, they find a way to score them,” Jenkins said. “They’re well-coached.
“And they threw a sophomore who had not thrown in five weeks and we had no scouting report on him. He was lights out. He pitched great.”
McAlexander threw five and a third innings for MA and took the loss. Hunter Vanderburg pitched in relief.
“It was two very good baseball teams competing for the North State championship,” Jenkins said.
“I had a fantastic group of seniors – the best leadership I’ve ever had.
“This is probably the most competitive team I’ve ever coached, and we have so many good players coming back. The future looks good.”
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