By Tommy Keeler Jr.
NEW MARKET -- Stonewall Jackson's first win over Central since 2004 was anything but easy.
The Generals saw a seven-run lead evaporate, then rallied to send the game into extra innings. The Generals finally won the game on a walk-off walk for an 11-10 win in nine innings in nondistrict baseball action on Wednesday at Rebel Park. It was the season opener for both teams.
"This is my fourth year on the varsity and this is the first time we've beaten them," Stonewall Jackson's Anthony Peacher said. "It's a good feeling, especially since I'm a senior."
The game went back and forth throughout. In the bottom of the 10th, Stonewall Jackson's Matt Litten led off with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch by Central pitcher Ben Kline. Colton Harlow's sac bunt then advanced Litten to third. The Falcons elected to intentionally walk Jered Getz and Peacher to load the bases. Kline was able to induce a pop out from Kory Somers. With a full count on Stonewall Jackson's Trey Alger, Kline's next pitch missed the strike zone to walk in Litten for the game-winning run.
It looked like the Generals were in trouble just two innings earlier. Stonewall Jackson trailed 10-9 entering the bottom of the seventh.
A one-out double by Litten off Central reliever Cody Sager got things started. With two outs, Getz was hit by a pitch, for the third time in the game. Peacher then drilled the first pitch into left field to tie the game.
"I just wanted to get that run in so bad," Peacher said. "When I hit that pitch into left field it was just a rush of excitement that went through me."
Stonewall Jackson seemed to take control of the game in the third inning. They batted around and scored seven runs to take a 7-1 lead.
Peacher and Daniel Buhl each had two-run singles in the inning, which also featured two walks and two errors.
"We just had that one bad inning," Central coach Donn Foltz said. "You can't give up seven runs in an inning."
The Generals added another run in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. Central then made a furious rally with the help of Stonewall Jackson.
The Falcons scored a combined eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 9-8 lead. The Generals had a combined eight errors in the two innings. Central's Zach Herbaugh had an RBI single for the only RBI for the Falcons in the two innings.
Stonewall Jackson tied the game up on an RBI single by Patrick Kerlin, but the Falcons scored in the top of the seventh on another RBI single by Herbaugh.
The Falcons were led by Herbaugh, who had four hits and two RBIs. Central used four different pitchers in the game, and Foltz said he was pleased with how his pitchers did.
"I thought all of our pitchers did a good job," Foltz said. "We just didn't get the crucial hits when we needed them."
Peacher had two hits and three RBIs, and Litten had three hits to lead the Generals. Litten threw six innings for the Generals. Harlow picked up the win in relief, striking out five in three innings of work.
The Generals have most of the players back from last year's squad, which made a run into the Shenandoah District tournament semifinals. The team has good reason to have high hopes for the upcoming season.
"I think this shows that we're going to be better than we have been in past years," Peacher said. "We have good players. We have good chemistry -- good everything. Everything's going good.
"I think we're going to have a really good team this year."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com