Rough inning dooms Generals against Hornets
NEW MARKET – One bad inning by Stonewall Jackson gave visiting Wilson Memorial a boost on Monday evening. From there, the baseball game between the Shenandoah District rivals turned into a rout.
The Generals committed four errors in the fifth inning to blow a two-run lead and the Green Hornets’ bats erupted over the final two frames as Wilson Memorial rolled to a 15-5 win to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Hornets finished the game with 17 hits, nine of which came in the sixth and seventh innings.
“We played very well the first four innings and then we just, I think the guys lost a little focus, thought that we were going to blow this team out,” Generals coach Mike Lenox said. “It’s a learning experience for a lot of the guys. Varsity baseball’s a different beast and I have a lot of young guys. Tonight seven underclassmen started. It’s a learning experience for them, but I think they get the picture.”
Stonewall Jackson (1-4) led 5-3 heading into the fifth inning, but saw that advantage unravel quickly as Wilson Memorial (3-3) batted around in the top of the frame and scored five runs due to shaky defense by the Generals.
Senior Daniel Poole led off the inning with a single against Stonewall starting pitcher Matt Murphy before an error on a routine grounder put runners on the corners with no outs. Isaac Hummel tied the game with a two-run double to left-center.
The Generals committed back-to-back errors one out later – the second of which allowed two more runs to score on a Ben Corbin grounder – and a two-out error on Preston Elkins’ deep fly ball to left plated another Wilson Memorial run before Stonewall finally got out of the inning trailing 8-5.
Murphy also threw two wild pitches in the fifth inning in addition to Stonewall’s four errors. The Generals finished with six errors total in the loss.
“I preach to them like minimize the damage, minimize the damage,” Lenox said. “Errors are going to happen, runs are going to be scored off errors. That’s part of it but it’s how you respond and how you can control that, and we didn’t do a very good job of kind of controlling that.”
Wilson Memorial’s offense came to life on its own against Stonewall Jackson’s relievers over the final two innings, as the Hornets scored seven more runs on nine hits in the sixth and seventh innings.
Corbin (4-for-5, two doubles, four RBIs), Poole (3-for-4, triple, three runs) and Elkins (3-for-4) led a Wilson lineup that tallied five extra-base hits and had only one strikeout.
Stonewall had its own success at the plate early, as the Generals scored five combined runs in the first two innings against Hummel, who started on the mound for Wilson.
Generals sophomore Cole Holsinger led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and he and Brett Jones – who reached on a two-out walk – were driven home on a two-run triple to right-center by senior Kory Somers. An RBI infield single by Nathan Miller off the glove of Hummel in the next at-bat scored Somers and gave Stonewall a 3-0 lead.
Wilson Memorial cut the Generals’ lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, but Stonewall responded with two runs of its own in the bottom half. Bradley Henschel, who reached on a one-out single, scored on a wild pitch and Murphy’s RBI single to left scored Holsinger to give the Generals a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the second.
But Lenox said the Generals’ approach at the plate got “lazy” after they built their lead.
“It’s all a mental and concentration-type thing that these kids need to learn and they are,” Lenox said. “I saw some good things, good at-bats and saw some things that we also need to work on.”
Elkins (2-0), who came on in relief of Hummel after the second inning, held Stonewall to one hit and a walk while striking out two over five scoreless innings.
“He threw strikes and stayed ahead of hitters,” Hornets coach Rodney Cullen said, “didn’t get behind hitters and stayed in the strike zone and just let them put it in play, get themselves out. Isaac [Hummel] really wasn’t wild, but I don’t know. They were on him early and I don’t know why. He just couldn’t really find it today, but it’s a good thing Preston came in and shut them down.”
Murphy allowed eight runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk over five innings in the losing effort.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org