Falcons get timely hits in win

Central's Tyler Cline prepares to slide into second base on a second inning steal as Stonewall's shortstop Tyler Somers misses the throw during Tuesday evening baseball action in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Central and Stonewall Jackson had plenty of positives in their baseball season opener Tuesday, but the Falcons were able to turn a few timely hits into a victory.

Central’s Jared Rice threw a complete game four-hitter as the Falcons pulled out a 3-0 non-district victory over the Generals.

“It was just a good baseball game,” Central coach Donn Foltz said. “… It’s a good win anytime you play like that in the opening game. They’re a good team.”

Rice struck out six with three walks. The sophomore was backed by a solid defense as the Falcons had only one error in the contest.

“He threw strikes. That’s all we want. Throw strikes and for the most part I think we had pretty good defense behind him,” Foltz said. “He’s got to trust his defense and throw strikes. Can’t try to do it all by himself and I think he mixed that around very good. Very proud of his performance.”

Stonewall shortstop Tyler Somers chases the ball while Central's Jared Rice reaches second base during first inning action Tuesday evening in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Rice helped himself at the plate with four of Central’s six hits.

The Falcons took the lead in the bottom of the second. Central’s Tyler Cline reached on an error and moved to third on a stolen base and another error. With two outs, Rice beat out a throw for an infield single to score Cline for a 1-0 lead.

“Couple errors just hurt us here and there,” Stonewall Jackson Mike Lenox said. “… They battled through it. They played well. They didn’t let (the errors) get them down. So I was proud of them.”

The Generals made three errors in the game, but none after the second inning.

Stonewall Jackson had a chance to score in the top of the third. Stonewall Jackson’s Nick Dotson led off with a single. With one out, Nathan Miller reached on an error and moved to second on a stolen base. Rice was then able to strike out Tyler Somers and induce a flyout from Brett Jones to end the inning.

Central's Jordon Hosaflook breaks up a potential double play as Stonewall's Cole Holsinger forces Hosaflook out at second base during fifth inning action Tuesday evening in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We just got to hit the ball,” Lenox said. “We just didn’t get that two-out hit. We just didn’t get that clutch hit, which it will come. It’s first game out. We just got to get in a routine.”

The Falcons extended the lead in the bottom of the third. Corey Sibert drew a one-out walk from Stonewall Jackson starting pitcher Cole Holsinger. One out later, Jordon Hosaflook doubled to right field to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Rice singled with one out and stole second. Hank Hoover drilled a pitch into right field for an RBI triple to give Central a 3-0 advantage.

In the top of the sixth, Rice gave up a hit and two walks but was able to get out of the jam. Hosaflook threw Miller out on an attempted steal after he had singled to start the inning. With two on and two outs, Rice was able to induce a groundout by David Moomaw to end the inning.

“He got a little out of the strike process there, but then he showed a lot of self-composure and did a good job,” Foltz said of Rice. “Defense bailed him out. That’s what you got to have.”

Holsinger pitched four solid innings for the Generals, striking out seven. Dotson pitched the last two, allowing just one hit.

Stonewall Jackson’s Dylan Vann had two singles and Miller also reached base twice to lead the Generals.

Despite the loss, Lenox said he was very happy with what he saw from his team, which has only three seniors.

“I’m excited where the season’s going to go. I believe in these guys,” Lenox said. “The game was different tonight, I feel like, then it’s been in the past. They wanted to compete, and they wanted to be there. … We’re still learning, but they are taking it upon themselves this year that they’re going to step up. It’s their time to play, and they understand that. It’s good to see. I’m happy to be here, and I’m looking forward to what they do. They want to compete. They want to win, so it makes it fun.”

The Falcons also have a young squad, and Foltz said he was very pleased with how they did in the opener.

“If we continue to get better I’ll feel real good,” Foltz said. “I think we have some really good kids and they’ve got to keep getting better. They cannot be satisfied. They’ve got to stay hungry the whole year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com