Season opener kind of Falcons
NEW MARKET — Central baseball coach Donn Foltz wasn’t sure what his team would look like in its season opener Monday, but he was very happy with the end result.
The Falcons used balanced hitting, solid pitching and took advantage of some Stonewall Jackson miscues en route to an 11-1 non-district victory over the Generals at Rebel Park. The game was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
“I’ve got a lot of inexperience. I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Foltz said. “I’m very proud of them. I saw a lot of good things.”
Foltz said that his team had only practiced some in the outfield due to the weather entering the season opener, but had not touched the dirt. The Generals had not been on the field at all before Monday’s game. It showed as the two teams combined for nine errors.
The Falcons scored six runs in the top of the second to take control of the game. Brandon Paschall and Zach Hamman had back-to-back hits to start the inning against Stonewall Jackson starter Matt Murphy.
Central’s Luke Estep drew a walk to load the bases. Nick Waldron reached on an error to score two runs. A double play gave the Generals some life in the inning, but the Falcons then had four straight runners reach base.
“We got some big hits, ran the bases well,” Foltz said. “They gave us a couple on errors, but we put the ball in play pretty well too.”
Tristan Rau singled to keep the second inning alive, and then back-to-back errors led to three more Central runs. Central’s Cody Polk had an RBI single to extend the lead to 6-0.
Stonewall Jackson coach Mike Lenox said he has a lot of players playing new positions this year, and he’s still trying to gauge the best spot for everyone.
“It’s a hard thing to do that,” Lenox said of playing a new position. “It takes some time and it takes us playing to get better.”
The second-inning surge for the Falcons was more than enough the way starter Zach Hamman and reliever Jared Rice pitched. Hamman went three innings and pitched to one batter in the fourth, before Rice, a freshman, came in.
Hamman allowed only two hits and struck out two.
“Zach Hamman pitched a great game,” Foltz said. “He got a little tired, but I was totally pleased.”
The Generals threatened to get back in the game in the bottom of the third. Trailing 7-0, Stonewall Jackson’s Nathan Miller drew a walk, but the Falcons turned a nice double play. Stonewall Jackson’s Cole Holsinger then reached on an infield single and an error and hit batsman loaded the bases. A wild pitch by Hamman gave the Generals a run and Brett Jones drew a walk to load the bases again. Hamman then induced a fly ball by Bradley Henschel to end the threat.
“We need to work on our hitting,” Lenox said. “We only had two hits. Regardless of how well we pitched and played, two hits are not going to win you a game.”
Despite the loss, Lenox said he saw a lot of good things from his team. The Generals have a young squad with only a handful of seniors, and Lenox said he’s excited for the season ahead.
“They’re young, but they’re experienced and they’re still growing,” Lenox said. “That’s what I’m excited about. … I’m excited about where they can go.”
The Falcons had 11 hits and every hitter reached base at least once. Hamman and Rau each had two hits to lead the way.
Foltz said his main goal for the team is to just keep getting better.
“I know I’m working their tails off, and I know they’re working their tails off,” Foltz said. “We’re going to try to improve and we’ll see how it rolls.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org