Thursday, March 21, 2013
MA takes two of four in Oxford
By BARRY BURLESON
Getting two wins in the Oxford Spring Break Tournament may be just the boost Marshall Academy needs.
The Class AA Patriots, going against big public schools, went 2-2 last week with wins over Independence and Lake Cormorant and losses to Lafayette and Center Hill. They’re 5-7 on the season.
“In the previous two years, we’d just been able to scratch out one win in that tournament,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “To get two is very, very important.
“This team is struggling for an identity. We’re very talented; and we can see the big picture coming, but we’re not there yet.”
The Patriots, led by a strong mound performance from Aaron McAlexander, started the tournament on a high note, blanking Class 3A Independence 3-0 Tuesday, March 12.
The lefty struck out eight, walked two and gave up four hits in the complete game, six innings.
The game was still scoreless going to the bottom of the fifth. That’s when MA’s Von Watson came through in the clutch. His triple scored McAlexander, Vince Hoyt and B.W. Langston.
Watson also had a single in the win.
Dakota Dailey added two singles and McAlexander had a double.
Errors proved costly for the Pats in a 13-6 loss to Class 4A Lafayette later the same day.
Marshall made five blunders. Only two of the Commodores’ 13 runs were earned.
The inning that hurt the most was the third, when Lafayette scored nine runs on just three hits.
MA had five hits. McAlexander got two of those, a triple and a single. Dailey, Hoyt and Watson added one hit each.
The Commodores had eight hits, coming against three Patriot pitchers. Tucker Fant tossed two innings and got the loss. He walked four, struck out two and gave up three hits. Chance Lykens and Stephen Elgin followed on the mound. Lykens gave up three hits and issued a walk. Elgin gave up two hits and walked one.
Marshall let one slip away Wednesday of last week versus Class 5A Center Hill. The Pats carried a one-run lead to the bottom of the seventh and fell 6-5.
“We had a good opportunity to get another win in that one,” Coach Jenkins said.
Matt Miller pitched six full innings and threw to a couple of batters in the seventh. He took the loss – giving up eight hits, walking five and striking out one. He was relieved by Lykens, who walked two and gave up a hit.
Watson had two of Marshall’s five hits. He connected for two doubles and two RBIs.
Matt Rappa also had a double. Hoyt and Josh Mask each had a single.
The Patriots finished the tournament the way they started it, on a high note. They knocked off Class 5A Lake Cormorant 5-4 Thursday.
The game was tied at 4 going to the bottom of the seventh. Hoyt led off with a single. Rappa reached on a Gator error. Watson then singled for the game-winning RBI.
The MA bats were hot in this big win, producing nine hits. Dailey had three hits, while Watson and Mask added two each. Hoyt and Caleb Jobe had a hit each.
Hoyt worked six strong innings on the mound – striking out four and walking three. McAlexander relieved him in the top of the seventh with the score tied and got the win.
In the top of the seventh, with runners on first and third, third baseman Rappa caught a line drive for the third out.
The Gators had eight hits. Each team committed two errors.
“Two of our seniors (McAlexander and Hoyt) gutted it out on the mound in our two wins in the tournament,” Coach Jenkins said. “They led by example, and we have to have that.
He said the dramatic victory over Lake Cormorant is, hopefully, just what the doctor ordered for his team.
“I hope it is unifying for us,” he said. “I think our urge to play well is fast approaching.”
The Patriots, 2-1 in District 1-AA, swing back into district action this week. They hosted Indianola Academy Tuesday for a twinbill and then travel to Indianola Thursday for a 4 p.m. game.
On Friday, they host non-conference foe First Assembly Christian School of Memphis, Tenn., at 5 p.m.
Next Tuesday, March 26, they host district opponent North Delta at 4 p.m.
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