By Jeff Nations
NEW MARKET -- Right idea, wrong result.
It boiled down to that for New Market in Thursday's Valley Baseball League game against visiting Aldie at Rebel Park. What first seemed a nifty fake-out on a throw to second to lure a Senators base runner too far off third turned into a two-run error when Rebels catcher Walker Haymaker's throw behind the runner to third sailed wide and into left field.
That miscue helped Aldie (6-5) cap a three-run rally in the top of the eighth inning that secured a 5-2 win for the Senators.
The trouble for New Market (8-7) began with Aldie left fielder Matt Malacane's leadoff double off Josh Wood. The burly right-hander from William Carey University had struggled with his command the previous inning, and that showed up again when he plunked Aldie's Jimmy Dowdell with a pitch after allowing Malacane's double. Robby Rinn then drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Sean Hagen drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice, but that was just the start. Hagen took off from first, hoping to draw a throw down to second for a delayed steal of home. Haymaker sold a beautiful fake that drew Dowdell far down the third-base line. Haymaker's actual throw wasn't as pretty, and got past third baseman Ray Lopez to allow both Dowdell and Hagen to score.
"That's the reason why we run that play, and we end up getting them right where we want them and just can't make the play," New Market manager C.J. Rhodes said.
Aldie manager Erik Lemley said staying aggressive on the basepaths has been a necessity for the Senators this season.
"We're not the strongest offensive team, but we try to put some guys in motion and put pressure on the other team," Lemley said. "Sometimes we're going to run into a few outs here and there, but a lot of times if you put pressure on the other team, they'll make a mistake."
The Senators largely scuffled to get much of anything going against New Market left-hander Reiss Stanley. In the top of the fourth, the Senators did finally do some damage in a scoreless game. Malacane (3-for-4) singled to lead off and later scored on Hagen's sacrifice fly.
Aldie tallied another run in the fifth when Charlie Dennehey, who drew a leadoff walk, eventually came around to score on Stanley's wild pitch.
The Rebels answered back in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out rally. Ray Lopez got it started with a single, then scored on an error. Two batters later, Nick Lustrino drove in another run with an RBI single to tie the game.
That rally helped make up for the Rebels' short-circuited second inning, when Derek Peterson and Landon Prentiss were consecutively picked off first base by Aldie starting pitcher Graham Tebbit.
"I'm going to give these guys a lot of room to make mistakes, and they've made some mistakes in the past," Rhodes said. "The only it's going to work in the long run is if we continue to learn and not make those mistakes again."
The Rebels wasted a prime opportunity in the sixth against Senators reliever Tyler Soucie, who escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Ryan Messina to end the inning.
"He had kind of a rough outing his first time out for us in Charles Town, so it was good for him to get out there and throw strikes," Lemley said of Soucie, who earned the win after producing the first two of four scoreless innings from Aldie's bullpen. "He's got great stuff. It's just getting comfortable with the team and on the mound."
Lustrino and Haymaker led the Rebels with three hits apiece. Stanley worked six innings for a no-decision, allowing only two runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out three.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>