Chargers edge Red Devils 4-3; Tournament begins
|Middlesex shortstop Jake Fletcher attempts to tag a Lancaster runner stealing second base during Monday’s Charger victory in Deltaville. (Photo by Stephen Blue)|
by Tom Chillemi
The Middlesex High varsity baseball team survived a late Lancaster threat to defeat the visiting Red Devils 4-3 on Monday.
The nip-and-tuck game could be a coming attraction for the Rappahannock General Hospital Invitational that begins, April 2, at Deltaville Ball Park. W&L meets Northumberland at 5 p.m. and Middlesex (1-1) will play Lancaster in the second game at 7 p.m.
The consolation game is at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3, and the title game is at 7 p.m.
Middlesex got on the board against Lancaster in the first inning when Jake Fletcher singled and stole second base. Mike Eades walked and Mason Goodrich singled to drive in Fletcher. Eades was stranded at third.
In the top of the second, Lancaster answered with a Chris Weber single. Weber took third on a double by Ty Laws. Goodrich walked the next two Red Devils and forced Weber home for a 1-1 tie.
In the third inning with one out, Lancaster’s Chris Buzzell doubled. Weber then singled with two out to score Buzzell and make it 2-1 Lancaster.
In the Middlesex half of the third, Eades walked. With one out, Keith Whitley doubled to move Eades to third. Eades came home on a fielder’s choice by Cody Hunter to tie the game 2-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Fletcher and Brandon Putney reached on infield errors. Fletcher scored on a single by Eades, and Putney scored on a error putting MHS on top 4-2
Lancaster narrowed the score in the sixth when Ty Laws hit a homer to cut the lead to 4-3.
Middlesex was unhurt by its two errors in the seventh inning, but Charger relief pitcher Keith Whitley retired the next two batters.
“Keith pitched his way out of it,” said Charger coach Tim Blake. “Our pitchers were throwing strikes and not walking batters. That won the ball game.”
Blake compared Monday’s Lancaster game to the season opener against Northumberland when Middlesex pitchers issued 11 walks in the 11-2 loss.
On Monday, Goodrich started on the mound. In three innings he struck out 4 and walked 2. “He did pretty good for his first showing,” said Blake.
Whitley relieved Goodrich, and in 4 innings he struck out 6 and walked none.
Coach Blake is looking for the Charger bats to come alive for tonight’s RGH Tournament. “We won a close ball game (on Monday) but we’re just not hitting the ball. I’m hoping our pitchers can throw strikes and we start hitting the ball.”
Blake said W&L is a senior-loaded team that was steady last year. Northumberland has a good pitching staff and is a decent hitting team.
Rain is in the forecast and the tournament make-up games will be played Saturday if needed.