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Chargers host RHS in opener Friday

by Tom Hardin

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From left are MHS baseball tri-captains Malcolm Ward, Michael Eades and Jake Fletcher.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)
Coach Timmy Blake likes what he sees in his 2009 Middlesex High varsity baseball team.

Blake, now in his 10th year at the helm, has a solid group of returning players, a good crop of former JV players, and some first-year newcomers.

“We’ve looked good in practice, but we’ve got to play when the games begin,” said Blake. “Our district had five teams that could beat each other on a given day. There are not many sure wins on our schedule.”

The Chargers are deep in pitching, but don’t have a lights out ace. “Our pitching staff should be steady,” said Blake. “The key is, we’ve got to throw strikes.”

Senior tri-captains Jake Fletcher, Mike Eades and Malcolm Ward all are proven pitchers. Junior letter winners Brandon Putney and Keith Whitley can also pitch, as can JV graduate Harley Moore, a sophomore.

Fletcher was first team All-Tidewater District and All-Region A last year as a utility player, and also made honorable mention All-State. He led the Chargers in hits (27), stolen bases (13), runs (24) and home runs (4). He batted .482 and had 11 RBIs as the MHS lead-of hitter.

Eades was a first team All-District pitcher. Even though he had a 2-4 pitching record, Eades had 59 strikeouts, including 15 in a win over 2008 district chap Colonial Beach.

Ward batted .340 and made second team All-District as outfielder.

Fletcher also plays shortstop and Eades also plays first base.

Catcher Chuckie Morris returns behind the plate where he was a second team All-District pick a year ago. Morris batted .340 a year ago and had 5 doubles and 16 runs. He also was a defensive standout.

“We have looked good hitting in practice,” said Blake. “Fletcher, Ward, Eades, Morris and Putney should be among our top hitters.”

Putney will start in the outfield, junior returnee Mason Goodrich will play at shortstop and third base, Whitley will play a number of positions, sophomore JV graduate Alexander Crittenden will play second base, and junior Scott Payne will be in the outfield.

Sophomore JV graduates Cody Hunter and Justin Cooper will see time in the outfield, and Hunter also will play first base.

King and Queen transfer Bryce Wright, a senior, will play first base and in the outfield, and first-year player Norman Sibley, a senior, also will be in the outfield.

Blake says he has not settled on a batting order, or even a final starting lineup.

The Chargers will host Rappahannock this Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m. in their season opener at Deltaville Ball Park. This is a make-up game.

On Tuesday, March 24, the Chargers will host Northumberland at 5 p.m.; will visit Rappahannock on March 26; and will visit Lancaster on March 27.

In other make-up games, MHS will host Lancaster on March 30, and Northumberland on May 4.

The Annual Rappahannock General Hospital Baseball Tournament is set for Thursday and Friday, April 3-4, at Deltaville Ball Park. More details in next week’s Sentinel.

Last year, the Chargers were second in the district with an 8-2 mark, and were 9-8 overall.

posted 03.18.2009

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