By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Waynesboro entered Wednesday's road test with Front Royal sporting an outrageous .310 batting average as a team, and the Generals' bats did not let up against the Cardinals.
Waynesboro jumped out of the gate early by rattling off 14 hits over the first five innings, and finished the evening with 18 hits off the Cardinals' pitching staff in an 11-2 win.
"We definitely swing it," said Generals manager Derek McDaniel. "It's easy to coach this team because we have so many weapons, and it's a different guy every night."
It seemed every batter in the Waynesboro lineup was joining the hit parade on Wednesday as every Generals starter tallied a hit, and seven batters recorded at least one RBI.
Waynesboro (20-10) got a pair of hits in the first two innings off Cardinals starter Josh Harlow, but couldn't scratch across a run.
That changed in the top of the third inning when Caleb Palensky (3 for 6, home run, double, three RBIs) sent the first pitch the at-bat over the net in right-center field to give the Generals a 1-0 lead. Jacob Hoyle then reached on an error in the infield by Front Royal, and came around to score on a fielder's choice by Devin Smith to give the Generals a 2-0 lead.
Front Royal (13-20) had a chance to respond in the bottom of the third as the Cardinals loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter by Waynesboro pitcher Eric Stout, but the Cardinals couldn't capitalize with any runs.
"We didn't really show up tonight," said Cardinals manager Clayton Kuklick. "We were locked in a little bit early but it seemed like we lost focus there in about the third inning."
Things got worse for Front Royal as Waynesboro's offense erupted for seven hits in the fourth inning with a huge two-out rally that put the game essentially out of reach.
Palensky soared a two-out RBI double to the warning track that was nearly caught by Cardinals left fielder David Atwood to extend the lead to 3-0, and the next five Waynesboro hitters tallied a hit.
Jacob Hoyle followed Palensky with a two-run home run to right-center, and Ryan Breen drove in a run with a single to give the Generals a 6-0 lead. The inning finally came to an end with Brandon Glazer's RBI double to right-center, when Smith was thrown at home trying to score.
Harlow lasted just four innings while allowing seven runs on 12 hits.
"It just breeds from one player to the other," McDaniel said. "The competition between guys, it's just the next guy, the next guy, the next guy."
Front Royal answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth on Atwood's RBI single to right field to score Luis Renvill, but the Cardinals wouldn't score again until the bottom of the ninth inning.
Waynesboro added a run in the fifth off Cardinals reliever Heath Durand, but the Generals went down quietly over the next three innings before once again unleashing their offense.
Cardinals reliever Ryan Mayhew ran into trouble in the ninth when Breen worked a walk after Front Royal first baseman Corey Dick misplayed a pop up in foul territory to allow Breen's at-bat to continue.
Breen and Smith, who reached on a single, both scored on a double by JoJo Woods, and Bradley Noland knocked home Woods with a single to give the Generals an 11-1 lead.
Front Royal's Jordan Lee, who led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and reached third on a two-base throwing error, scored on a wild pitch to make the score 11-2.
With one out remaining in the game, the lights went out in the stadium, causing a 20-minute delay in action before Hoyle got Chris Gruarin to strike out to end the contest.
Stout picked up his third win of the season as he tossed six innings for Waynesboro, allowing just one run on five hits.
"Our pitcher gave us six innings," McDaniel said. "When your pitcher can give you six innings, you're going to do something good."