Bulldogs’ bats red-hot in win over Generals
NEW MARKET – Luray’s bats erupted against Stonewall Jackson on Friday evening.
The Bulldogs connected for 17 hits – a season high – against Generals pitching in the Shenandoah District contest at Rebel Park, and sophomore right-hander Logan Morrison tossed a complete game as Luray picked up an 8-1 victory.
“[Luray] played well today,” said Stonewall coach Mike Lenox, whose team dropped to 3-13 (2-11 in the Shenandoah District) with the loss.
“We’ve been playing good baseball. They just came out, Logan pitched great. We beat him the first time, 3-1. They just pounded the baseball today. If you get  hits it’s going to be hard to keep up with that.”
The top half of Luray’s batting order proved to be particularly troublesome for Stonewall’s pitchers on Friday, as seniors Keaton Seal, Tyler Campbell, Blake Dean and sophomore Boo Dean – the one, three, four and five hitters for the Bulldogs – combined to go 14-for-17 with three doubles, five runs batted in and seven runs scored.
Seal (three runs scored, two stolen bases) and Blake Dean (two doubles, two RBIs) each had four hits for Luray (7-10, 3-10 Shenandoah), while Campbell (two RBIs), Boo Dean and Zach Wright had three hits apiece.
The Bulldogs tallied 10 hits against Stonewall senior left-hander Matt Murphy, who got the start on Senior Night and lasted just three-plus innings while surrendering six runs (two earned).
“They were seeing it,” Bulldogs coach Steve Griffith said of the top of Luray’s batting order. “We’ve seen this guy [Murphy], I think, three times in the last two years, so that probably helps. We had a rough week early in the week, losing some close games. It was good to get a decent win today.”
Luray was aggressive at the plate against the Generals, as seven of the Bulldogs’ 17 hits came on the first pitch of the at-bat. Sixteen of their hits came with the batter seeing three pitches or fewer.
“They swung at a lot of first pitches and got hits on them and … it’s difficult to pitch – it’s difficult to play – if they’re swinging the bat that well,” Lenox said.
The Generals fell into a hole early as Luray scored two in the top of the first on Campbell’s RBI double and an error. The Bulldogs added three more runs in the second with a two-out rally that began with another Stonewall error and ended with back-to-back RBI singles by Blake Dean and Boo Dean.
Murphy limited Luray to one hit in the third after a 15-minute rain delay between the second and third innings, but he surrendered his 10th hit of the game – a single by Seal – to lead off the fourth and was pulled in favor of sophomore Brett Jones.
“He was up today. When the ball was low he did fine, but he was constantly up with all his pitches and they were seeing the ball well today,” Lenox said of Murphy. “That usually doesn’t mix too well.”
Jones faced only four batters in the fourth inning before exiting after he gave up three straight hits, including RBI doubles by Campbell and Blake Dean that gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Senior right-hander Kory Somers came in and prevented further damage for the Generals in the fourth and went on to finish the game. Somers allowed one earned run on four hits while striking out four over 3 2/3 innings.
Morrison limited Stonewall to five hits and one walk in the winning effort. The sophomore right-hander also struck out five.
The Generals’ lone run came in the fourth inning, when Murphy delivered a two-out RBI single on a line drive to center field that scored Jones (2-for-3) after he led off the inning with a single to right.
Friday’s loss dropped Stonewall into last place in the Conference 35 race. The Generals close out the regular season at Page County – the Shenandoah District leader – next Tuesday.
“I tell my guys every day they’re working hard, and they work hard every day just to get to a point where we’re playing our best when playoff time comes because that’s the best part about baseball,” Lenox said. ” … When that playoff game starts, things are different. Things are wiped clean and you’re hopefully playing your best baseball at that point in time.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org