Thursday, April 4, 2013
Patriots sweep North Delta
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy’s sweep of North Delta last week puts the Patriots in position to earn a seventh straight district crown.
MA, 8-1 in District 1-AA, will meet rival Kirk Academy next week in a three-game series to determine the district champion and state playoff seeding.
The Raiders also had just one loss in district entering their series with North Delta this week.
“Our conference off week (this week) came at a good time,” said Bart Jenkins, head coach of the Pats. “Maybe we can get healthy and go into the Kirk series with a larger pitching staff than we’ve had.”
He said MA, because of its rich baseball tradition, has a target on its back.
“Everybody wants to beat Marshall,” he said. “We have a bull’s-eye on us. But you know, baseball is a funny game; it’s all about who gets the hits and when they get them.”
The Green Waves couldn’t hit the bull’s-eye last week. Marshall scored 26 runs in the three victories.
“Getting that sweep was big,” Coach Jenkins said. “We’re playing very, very hard. We’re doing good things that we were not doing two weeks ago. We’re putting the ball in play and running the bases well. But our best baseball is still ahead of us. We need to get consistent in certain areas.”
Aaron McAlexander was dominant in game one of the North Delta series. He had 16 strikeouts and gave up only two hits as the Pats won 8-1 at home Tuesday, March 26.
Four of MA’s five hits and seven of its eight runs came in the bottom of the fifth.
McAlexander had a single and one run-batted-in, Vince Hoyt a single and two RBIs, Matt Rappa a double and two RBIs and Josh Mask a single and two RBIs.
Devin McGreger had the Pats’ other hit, a single in the third. He also scored to tie the game at 1.
Each team committed three errors.
Games two and three of the series were played Thursday in Batesville with Marshall winning both by identical 9-6 scores.
The Pats had to come from behind in game two. They trailed 5-3 entering the fourth. That’s when they surged ahead 6-5 with three runs. With two outs, McAlexander reached on a error, Hoyt got a hit, Rappa doubled for two RBIs and Hoyt singled for an RBI.
MA added a single run in each of the remaining innings. Dailey had RBIs in both the fifth and seventh.
Getting two hits each in the win were Dailey, Watson and McGreger. Adding a hit each were Hoyt, Rappa and Mask.
Tucker Fant struck out nine in six innings of work and earned the mound win. The sophomore also walked five and gave up five hits.
Matt Miller threw the seventh, giving up two hits.
North Delta made six errors to Marshall’s one.
In game three of the series, Dailey had four RBIs, part of an 11-hit Patriot attack.
Von Watson carried a big stick – getting three hits, including two doubles. He had one RBI. Dailey had two singles. Rappa connected for a double and single and two RBIs. Hoyt, who also earned the pitching win, had a single and a double and an RBI. Thomas Faulkenbery and Devin McGreger also singled.
Five of Marshall’s nine runs and four of its hits came in the fifth as the visiting team took a commanding 9-3 lead.
Hoyt threw four innings on the mound. He struck out five, walked two and gave up five hits. Chance Lykens tossed the last three innings – striking out four, walking one, hitting a batter and giving up three hits.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Coach Jenkins said. “That was seven wins in a row (to improve to 11-7 overall).”
He said Fant and Hoyt, along with Miller and Lykens, turned in solid performances on the mound Thursday.
“And our biggest area of improvement is behind the plate,” Jenkins said. “Colt Lindsey (the catcher) has really improved and it has made a huge difference for our team.”
The Patriots hosted Lee (Ark.) Monday of this week. They go to Tupelo Christian Thursday at 4 p.m. (varsity and B-team), visit Pillow Academy Friday at 4 p.m. (B-team and varsity) and face ECS Saturday at 11 a.m. (B-team and varsity).
The district-deciding series with Kirk awaits Monday and Tuesday of next week. Marshall hosts Monday at 4 p.m. (B-team and varsity) and travels Tuesday for two varsity matchups starting at 4 p.m.
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