By Tommy Keeler Jr.
NEW MARKET -- New Market had an opportunity to make up some ground in a push to make the postseason on Friday when it hosted Aldie in a doubleheader. The Rebels weren't able to get a sweep, but they did rally in the second game to pull out a split at Rebel Park.
The Rebels lost the first game, 7-3, and won the second one, 7-5.
Both games of the doubleheader were seven-inning contests. New Market was the road team in the first game.
"It was big winning that second game," New Market's Josh Mason said. "We were a little down after losing that first game. It was good to come back and get a win, especially against a team like that, that's ahead of us in the playoff race. That helps gain a game on them. It gives us some momentum."
Things didn't start off so well for the Rebels in the second game.
The Senators scored early as Joe Giacchino singled off New Market starter Christian Bartholomew. Zack Holt drew a one-out walk. Pat Wright's two-run single gave the Senators a 2-0 edge.
In the bottom of the second, New Market's Joe Chittester singled, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Mason's RBI groundout cut the lead to 2-1.
Aldie came right back in the top of the third. Joe Consolmango led off with a single. He stole second and eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Pike.
The Rebels took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the fourth. Chittester started things off with a one-out single. Mason followed an RBI triple off Aldie starter Jordan Fuller.
"He had given me a curveball earlier in the count that I had taken. So, with two strikes I knew he was going to throw the curveball again," Mason said. "I was sitting on a curveball. I was able to get some good wood on it."
Tray Roberts doubled and Walker Haymaker was intenionally walked to load the bases. Tanner Dofflemyer drew a walk to give New Market a 4-3 lead.
The Rebels put the game away with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Darian Carpenter singled and Chittester drew a walk from Aldie reliever John Reece Strong with one out. Mason followed with an RBI double for a 5-3 lead.
Mason, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the second game, said he tried to keep things simple at the plate.
"I just tried to take an easier approach at the plate. I just told myself to just see the ball and hit the ball," Mason said. "It worked out."
Aldie brought in David Munson to replace Strong, but things didn't get better for the Senators. Wyshinski drew a walk to load the bases. Tray Roberts reached on an error to score Chittester, and then Mason scored on a wild pitch.
The Rebels struggled offensively in the first game, but manager C.J. Rhodes said they had a much better approach at the plate as a team in the second game.
"I think in the first game they were putting too much pressure on themselves to do too much," Rhodes said. "In the second game they slowed down their approach at the plate. They just tried to keep things simple."
Both starting pitchers for New Market recovered from shaky starts to have strong outings. Colton Sieber started the first game, and Bartholomew the second. Both are normally relievers.
"I thought both guys did really well," Rhodes said. "We asked them to give us a spot start for us, and they pitched well."
The Rebels are still on the outside looking in as far as the playoff hunt goes, but the team is still confident that they can make one last big run and get in.
"We've been playing really well lately, we just haven't been able to pull out a few games," Mason said. "Anything can happen. We still have enough games left to make the playoffs. We just have to keep on going."