By Jeff Nations
WINCHESTER -- Rennie Marchi's first varsity starting assignment for Sherando's baseball team got off to an inauspicious beginning.
Marchi, most often a pinch runner and late-inning substitute so far this season, got his first start at second base with teammate Taylor Loudan pitching against Handley on Thursday at Bridgeforth Field. The first ball hit Marchi's way cost him an error -- hardly the dream start for the junior, and the first of three miscues the Warriors committed in that bottom of the first.
Don't worry, it gets better -- for Marchi and Sherando, anyway.
After spotting the Judges three runs in that opening frame, Sherando roared back with 17 unanswered runs over the final six innings to lock up a lopsided 18-3 victory. Marchi did his part at the plate, producing a 3-for-3 effort with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in the win.
"He'll be one of the main guys next year," Sherando coach Pepper Martin said. "This year he's been helping out any way he can. He got an opportunity to start and made the most of it."
Sherando (5-0, 4-0 Northwestern District) touched Handley starting pitcher Taylor Sandroni for an unearned run in the top of the first, but the Judges responded with three unearned runs off Loudan in the bottom of the frame. Nicholas Dempsey ended up with an RBI on a fielder's choice.
"They didn't get a ball out of the infield and they scored three runs," Martin said. "I mean, you've got to give their kids credit -- they were putting the bat on the ball. They weren't going down swinging, giving up empty outs."
Marchi's RBI single got a run back for the Warriors in the top of the second, and Justin Angel singled in another run in the third to tie it back up.
Marchi got the go-ahead rally going with one out in the fourth with a double to right-center field, and Loudan followed by drawing a walk. One out later, Jacob Carney and Chase Smallwood delivered back-to-back RBI singles to push the Warriors ahead.
Sandroni nearly made it through another inning, but got little help from his defense. Handley committed seven errors in all. One in the fifth helped Sherando produce a five-run outburst highlighted by Adam Whitacre's two-run double.
Loudan drove in two more with a single in the sixth off Sam Sabock, and the Warriors piled on six more runs in the seventh with a six-hit inning.
"After we got through that little mini-circus in the first inning, we settled in and did the things we needed to do to win the game," Martin said. "Taylor didn't have any settling down to do. We just needed to make plays behind him. He trusted his defense and actually had a solid outing. And then Adam [Whitacre] came in and did a real nice job, also."
Loudan pitched the first four innings for the win, Whitacre followed by recording six quick outs and Angel wrapped up the seventh for the win.
Handley (2-3, 0-2 Northwestern) managed just three hits.
Sherando piled up 19 hits in the win as every Warriors starter had at least one hit. Carney and Smallwood joined Marchi with three hits each, and Jeb Brown, John Bentley and Whitacre chipped in two hits apiece.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>