Edwards, Waite spark Rebels
NEW MARKET — The rain and storms mostly missed New Market on Wednesday, but the Woodstock River Bandits saw plenty of another Storm against the New Market Rebels.
New Market’s Storm Edwards had a solid night at the plate to lead the Rebels to a 9-1 victory over the River Bandits in Valley Baseball League action.
Edwards (N.C. State) went 3 for 4 with a single, double and a home run, just a triple shy of the cycle.
“He’s a good ball player and N.C. State is lucky to have him,” New Market manager George Schaefer said of Edwards.
New Market starting pitcher J.D. Waite (Lander University) didn’t need a lot of offensive support. Waite went seven innings, allowing five hits and struck out three.
“I was getting ahead of every batter,” Waite said. “I was locating my pitches well. The defense was playing good behind me, and luckily we had some timely hitting and were able to put up a good bit of runs.”
The Rebels (6-5) took an early lead in the first inning. With one out, New Market’s Connor Gunn drew a walk from Woodstock starting pitcher Keegan Frederick. One out later, Edwards doubled to give New Market a 1-0 lead. Thatcher Coleman followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0.
Frederick worked his way out of trouble in the bottom of the second. With two outs, P.J. Demeo singled, and Roberto Rivera and Gunn drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Kevin Woodall drilled a pitch that was caught at the center-field wall to end the threat. Frederick only allowed one hit in his next two innings.
“He threw well in his two relief outings, and so he deserved to start and he did everything to deserve another one,” Woodstock manager Phil Betterly said. “He threw three pitches, kept the guys off balance. After that first inning he was able to settle in, so I’m proud of him.”
New Market added to the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a little help from the River Bandits. New Market’s Weston Clarke reached on a two-base error. With two outs, Rivera drew a walk and Gunn followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Edwards led off with a solo home run over the center-field fence to give the Rebels a 4-0 lead.
“It was a big swing,” Schaefer said. “He hit the ball to the deepest part of the ballpark and it goes out, but he’s a good player and we expect it from him.”
The River Bandits (3-8) scored in the top of the sixth. Woodstock’s Will Thompson singled and Matt Koehler followed with a double off Waite. A sacrifice fly by Esteban Puerta cut the lead to 4-1.
The Rebels tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth. Rivera doubled with one out. Woodall’s RBI single gave the Rebels a 5-1 edge.
New Market scored four more in the bottom of the eighth, and finished with 12 hits in the contest. Edwards had an opportunity for the cycle in the bottom of the eighth and drew a walk to reach base four times.
Thompson and Ty Comer led the River Bandits with two hits each.
“We just got to come back and compete,” Betterly said. “The sun comes up tomorrow. You got to come to the yard and get ready to battle. We got the guys to do that. It’s just not happening for us right now.”
Coleman and Demeo each had two hits for the Rebels. Waite said he really likes what he sees from the team.
“I think the team has bonded really good,” Waite said. “All the guys are pretty cool guys. The team chemistry is coming together pretty well, and I think we’re going to get on a roll here soon.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org