By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- Randolph-Macon Academy baseball coach Robert Locklear had expected to see some fielding mishaps that never came in the Yellow Jackets' season-opening win earlier this week. But R-MA's inexperience reared its head on Thursday evening against visiting Fredericksburg Christian.
The Yellow Jackets struggled to field the ball on a soggy infield, as they committed 12 errors in a 13-3 loss to the Eagles that ended via mercy rule in the sixth inning.
"That's the difference in the game. We really weren't out of it, we just didn't field the ball well today," Locklear said. "I've got a really young team ... and I actually expected we would probably do this on Monday, but we came out and played really well and we only committed one error."
R-MA's infield wasn't nearly as crisp on Thursday, as five errors in the top of the second inning allowed Fredericksburg Christian to score its first three runs of the game without tallying a hit in the frame.
Evan Huber started the Eagles' rally by reaching on R-MA's first error with one out and promptly stealing second. Yellow Jackets starter Doug Brennand then hit Fredericksburg Christian's George Fisher in the next at-bat, and the Eagles executed a double-steal that drew a throw to third base by R-MA catcher Robert DeBerry that skipped into left field, allowing Huber to score.
Fisher scored in the same at-bat on an errant pickoff throw to third, and Ian Woods drew a walk, stole two bases and scored on another wild throw to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) answered with a run in the bottom of the second when Edwin Guyette was plunked by Huber -- also the Eagles' starting pitcher -- with the bases loaded, but Fredericksburg Christian plated six more runs in the third on four more R-MA errors.
The big blow in the inning came with the bases loaded and two outs in the frame, when Jared Steigerwald's grounder to short was misplayed, allowing two runs to score. The ensuing throw to third from centerfield went out of play, which ultimately cleared the bases and gave Fredericksburg Christian a 9-1 lead.
"I just couldn't get them to come on up [and charge ground balls] ... quit sitting back there waiting for the ball. The grass was slow," Locklear said. "Their guys were cutting the ball off in the infield and making good throws."
The Eagles added two more runs in the fourth on another error and an RBI groundout by Fisher, and R-MA answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning against Eagles reliever Brandon Chenault on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by Guyette.
Another errant pickoff attempt to third base in the top of the sixth allowed two more Fredericksburg Christian runs to score. The Eagles tallied just six hits, and all but one of their runs was unearned. R-MA had four hits in the loss.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD