Rebels’ slide continues in loss to Waynesboro

NEW MARKET – The New Market Rebels’ struggles continued Thursday night against visiting Waynesboro.

The Generals jumped on New Market early and rode a strong starting pitching performance from Tyler Howe to a 6-3 Valley Baseball League victory, sending the Rebels to their fifth straight loss.

“We haven’t been playing good baseball,” Rebels manager George Schaefer said. “We haven’t strung together enough hits to score runs and we haven’t had enough clean innings on the mound. We’ve got to fill up the strike zone. We’ve got to find ways to compete and we’ve got to have a little more fire in the belly.”

Waynesboro (9-12), which has won two straight since losing seven of eight, raced out to a 4-0 lead after the first two innings, offering plenty of run support for Howe.

Howe, a junior from Alabama State University who was making his third start against New Market this summer, went six innings and allowed one earned run on four hits, two walks, two hit-by-pitches and nine strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 2-0 with the win.

“He was ready to come in and pitch,” Generals manager D.J. King said. “His arm felt great and he came out and had three pitches working for him. Hit his spots, stayed below the zone. Did a great job. Once he settles in he’s really good.”

New Market (10-14) starter Joshua Burchell didn’t fare as well, as he exited after just three innings and took his fourth loss in as many starts this season. Burchell allowed five hits and four walks and hit two batters.

The Generals got to Burchell quickly in the top of the first inning, as Clayton Taylor (3-for-5, double, two runs) and Michael Brosseau led off with back-to-back singles and scored on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Camp, respectively.

Waynesboro added another pair of runs in the second inning. After New Market right fielder Levi Wright and second baseman Nate Blanchard teamed up to throw out a runner at the plate on Taylor’s double, the Generals scored on Jeremy Taylor’s fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Kevin Phillips.

“It puts a little pressure on the hitters,” Schaefer said of the early deficit. “They feel like they have to change the score with one at-bat rather than stringing together, and that’s something that we have to remind them of. It’s one guy at a time. It’s a collective effort.”

The Rebels, who stranded on baserunner in each of the first eight innings, answered back with a run in the fifth inning on Blanchard’s (2-for-4, triple, two RBIs) RBI groundout. Waynesboro first baseman Phillips made a spectacular diving grab along the first base line on the play to prevent a second run from scoring.

Waynesboro extended its lead to 5-1 in the seventh before New Market cut the lead to two runs in the bottom of the inning following back-to-back RBI doubles by Lorenzo Wright (2-for-5) and Blanchard.

The Generals came right back with another run in the eighth when Stephen Pittara led off with a single and later scored on a two-out single by Jeremy Taylor.

Waynesboro, which finished with 10 hits, saw its leadoff batter reach safely in seven innings.

“That was big and we’ve talked a lot about that. A lot of situational hitting and a lot of timely hitting-type stuff,” King said. “We’ve added that, incorporated some timely hitting rounds into BP more than we did earlier and the guys are, they’re bought in. And they’re playing hard and having a lot of fun.”

Alexander Mauricio (one hit allowed, three strikeouts) pitched 2 2/3 innings for Waynesboro to pick up the save.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com