Thursday, March 29, 2012
Patriots pound district rival
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy made an unexpected road trip Tuesday of last week. But it worked out just fine.
The Patriots were scheduled to host District 1-AA foe Indianola Academy March 20 for a single game and travel to the Delta two days later for a doubleheader. Instead, the twinbill at Indianola was shifted to Tuesday. The third game in the series, which will be played at Marshall, is tentatively reset for April 9.
“I was frustrated with the situation, but that’s part of baseball,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “You just have to go with the flow.”
The Patriots responded by routing the Colonels twice, 9-2 and 12-0. They improved to 4-0 in the district.
“Our guys were focused and ready to play,” he said.
Junior left-hander Aaron McAlexander earned the mound victory in game one, pitching a complete game. He struck out seven, gave up five hits and walked one.
“When Aaron is on the mound, he gives us a chance to win, and we provided the run support,” Jenkins said. “He gave a very good effort. He is really improving on managing runners. No one even attempted to steal a base.”
A red hot Vince Hoyt led an 11-hit Marshall attack. He was three for three with a two-run homer and a double. He scored three runs and knocked in three runs.
“Since the latter half of last year, Vince’s ability to swing the bat has gotten progressively better,” Jenkins said. “The baseball looks like a beach ball to him. He has worked extremely hard.”
Getting two hits each were Dakota Dailey, Elgin Lafever and Evan Hickman. Dailey had two RBIs.
Kevin Fitzpatrick ripped a home run, and McAlexander added a single.
In game two, three Patriot pitchers combined for the shutout and MA once again connected for 11 hits.
Hickman started and left the mound in the bottom of the first inning due to injury. Tucker Fant pitched through the fourth; Tyler Cook pitched the fifth and sixth; and Hoyt went to “the hill” for the seventh.
“We have more pitching depth than some give us credit for,” Coach Jenkins said. “Tucker has competed and improved; he is going to be a lot of help this year. We expect Evan to get back on track this week. We wanted to get Tyler and Vince some work on the mound.”
Fant struck out two, walked four and gave up two hits. Cook struck out two, walked one and gave up one hit. Hoyt struck out one, walked one and gave up one hit.
Four Patriots had two hits each in the 12-run win – Lafever, McAlexander, Hoyt and Matt Rappa. One of Lafever’s was a three-RBI double. McAlexander and Hoyt had two RBIs apiece. Adding single hits were Fant, Dailey and Cook.
Marshall dropped a 10-7 decision Saturday afternoon at St. George’s in Memphis, Tenn.
The Patriots had nine hits to the Gryphons’ eight.
Top hitters for MA were McAlexander, Fitzpatrick and Rappa with two each. Fitzpatrick had a double.
The Pats battled back from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game but couldn’t complete the rally.
Cole Davis took the mound loss. In five innings of work, he gave up seven runs on five hits and walked eight. Hoyt pitched the sixth and gave up three runs on three hits.
Each team committed two errors.
This week Marshall (9-8 overall) faces rival North Delta in what Jenkins calls “the biggest conference series of the year.” MA traveled to Batesville Tuesday for a single game. The Green Wave comes to Holly Springs Thursday for a twinbill starting at 4 p.m.
“North Delta has a fine ball club,” he said. “They have pitching depth and equal offensive abilities to us. We’re looking forward to the challenge. All of our work to this point has been leading up to this series.
“We need a good crowd at home Thursday for the doubleheader.”
The Patriots then visit Harding Academy in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday at 12 noon.
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