Thursday, April 5, 2012
MA goes to 6-1 in district race
By BARRY BURLESON
District rivals Marshall Academy and North Delta combined for just eight runs in a three-game series last week.
Fortunately for the Patriots, they won two and improved to 6-1 against District 1-AA competition.
“We lost focus hitting and did not have quality at-bats,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “But we still were able to win two out of three.
“We’re a good offensive team. We had been averaging seven or eight runs a game. I fully expect us to bounce back and hit the ball.”
Pitching gave the Patriots a big boost in the series.
“It was huge,” he said. “We pitched great all week against a really good hitting baseball team.”
MA got four of its seven hits and three of its four runs in the first inning as it turned back the Green Wave 4-1 in Batesville Tuesday of last week.
Elgin Lafever, Aaron McAlexander and Kevin Fitzpatrick all singled in the Patriots’ first at-bat. Then Evan Hickman provided the big blow – a two-run homer over the right-field fence.
MA grabbed the momentum and a 3-0 lead.
The Pats added a run in the top of the fifth, courtesy of a North Delta error.
North Delta’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Tyler Cook then nailed a runner trying to steal second for the third out.
Aaron McAlexander earned the pitching victory. He went the distance, striking out six, giving up six hits and issuing three walks. Two of the strikeouts came versus the last two batters in the bottom of the seventh.
Marshall had seven hits. Hickman led the way with two.
Fitzpatrick threw a two-hitter as MA beat the Green Wave 1-0 in the first game of a twinbill Thursday at Patriot Field.
The senior pitcher struck out seven and walked three.
The Patriots got just six hits. Cook had two of those.
Lafever had the game’s only run-batted-in in the bottom of the fifth. His single scored Vince Hoyt, who reached when he was hit by a pitch. Cook’s single moved Hoyt to third.
North Delta got runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh before Fitzpatrick forced a flyout to right fielder Jacob McMinn to end the game.
In the nightcap Thursday, it was the Patriots who could just muster just two hits in a 2-0 loss to the Green Wave.
North Delta countered with five hits. The visiting team scored one run in the top of the first and another in the top of the third.
Marshall, hoping to rally, went quietly in the bottom of the seventh with three strikeouts.
Cook went the distance and took the mound loss. He struck out eight and walked seven.
MA vs. Harding
The Patriots, typically a solid defensive squad, committed five errors Saturday in Memphis, Tenn., and fell 8-7 to Harding Academy.
Five of the Lions’ runs were unearned.
Marshall out-hit the home squad 10 to nine and almost staged a comeback in the seventh.
Trailing 8-5, Hoyt hit a two-run homer over the high fence in right field and onto the tennis court. But that’s all the runs the Pats could come up with in their last at-bat.
Dakota Dailey was the top hitter for the Patriots on a hot afternoon in late March. He had three hits. Hoyt added two hits, while Hickman had a triple and Matt Rappa a double.
The game was knotted at 2 after one inning. MA scored three runs on four hits in the top of the third to go up 5-2.
But the Lions came alive in their half of the fourth, scoring two on a triple and two more on a home run of their own over the right field fence and onto the tennis court.
Harding went up 6-5 and padded its lead with one in the fifth and another in the sixth, the last one coming on two Marshall errors.
Cole Davis was the losing pitcher. He gave up six runs and eight hits. Pitching in relief were Tucker Fant and Hickman.
The Patriots (11-10 overall) host St. George’s of Memphis Thursday with a junior varsity game at 4 p.m. and varsity game to follow. An alumni game will be played Friday at 6 p.m. at Patriot Field. Saturday, the Patriots will host Southaven with a time not set at press-time. Next Monday, April 9, they will host Indianola Academy for a district make-up game. Next Tuesday, April 10, they travel to Kirk Academy for game one of another district series.
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