Jones’ single lifts Stonewall
NEW MARKET — Brett Jones has watched many Major League Baseball players get a walk-off hit and be mobbed by teammates. On Friday night, the Stonewall Jackson junior got to experience it for himself.
Jones’ walk-off RBI single gave Stonewall Jackson a 5-4 10-inning victory over William Campbell at Rebel Park. The game was a Conference 44 tournament quarterfinal. Stonewall Jackson will play at Riverheads on Monday in the semifinals at 5 p.m.
“It was amazing,” Jones said of his walk-off hit and the ensuing celebration. “I’m an Orioles fan. I watch games like that, and in 2012 they had more walk-off wins than any team in the Major Leagues. So to see guys do it on TV every night, and then to come out here and actually do it myself is an indescribable feeling.”
Stonewall Jackson (6-14) rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and capped things off in the bottom of the 10th. Stonewall Jackson’s Duncan Schroeder started the inning off with a double to left field off William Campbell reliever Andre Reid.
With one out, Jones drilled his RBI single to give the Generals the win.
“I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive,” Jones said. “In that situation I wasn’t really trying to do too much. I knew if I could get the ball on the ground that we would be able to get the runner in because there was only one out. Just trying to have a nice simple approach, not do too much, put the ball in play.”
Stonewall Jackson sophomore Nick Dotson also played a key role in the win. He pitched six innings in relief and held William Campbell scoreless, backed up by a strong defense.
Dotson took over for Stonewall Jackson reliever Tyler Somers in the top of the fifth, trailing 4-3. He allowed only five hits in six innings and struck out three.
“It took me an inning or two to get settled in. I had to work out of some hard situations, but my defense did a great job backing me up tonight,” Dotson said. “I got settled in from there. Once I started clicking things just really started working out, and I was able to throw strikes and get the job done.
“… My slider was really effective. Once I found that I was able to throw that a lot and get a lot of guys out. It was really just clicking. It was working well.”
Dotson had to get out of several tough situations. Stonewall Jackson ended the top of the seventh with a double play, and needed another one in the top of the eighth.
William Campbell’s Brady Davis and Danny Stewart led off the eighth with back-to-back singles. Dotson then intentionally walked Parker Mason to load the bases with no outs. Dotson was able to strike out Brennan Stone, and then Stonewall Jackson turned a double play on a grounder hit by Colby Barksdale.
“I was really focused to make sure it was my best (pitch), and I was able to throw it where I needed to throw it,” Dotson said. “I was so excited when I saw them turn it.”
Dotson was in another jam in the top of the 10th. Reid led off with a single, and stole second, and Davis drew a walk from Dotson with no outs. Dotson induced back-to-back fly outs that weren’t deep enough to score Reid. Dotson then struck out Stone to end the inning.
“I just tried to take deep breaths and relax,” Dotson said. “Just do what I know I can do. I knew that If I pitch in the right spot, even if they did hit it my defense would be there to help me out and they did that tonight.”
William Campbell, the defending Group 1A state champions, scored a run in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly by Stone, and then three more in the top of the fourth. William Campbell batted around in the fourth, but left the bases loaded.
Stonewall Jackson responded in the bottom of the fourth with three runs. Jones drew a one-out walk from Stone, who pitched eight innings for William Campbell. With two outs, Wyatt Estep reached on an error, and Somers followed an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-1. Stonewall Jackson’s Cole Holsinger then belted a two-run triple to left field to cut the lead to 4-3.
“We showed a lot of resiliency and toughness,” Jones said. “They’re not a bad team at all. We were able to come out execute, do what (Stonewall Jackson) coach (Mike) Lenox tells us to do, and we came out on top.”
Stonewall Jackson tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Estep reached base on a two-base error with two outs. Somers followed with an RBI double to tie the game, 4-4.
“I’ve always told them, ‘Let’s get to the fifth and let’s make something happen,'” Lenox said. “Be in the game in the fifth or the sixth and things can happen, and that’s what we did today.”
William Campbell (2-17) was led by Davis with four hits. Stonewall Jackson was led at the plate by Somers with two hits and two RBI’s.
Stonewall Jackson has lost twice to Shenandoah District rival Riverheads this season, but the players are confident the third time could be different.
“Riverheads always has a very good team. We can expect to see Colton Miller. He’s a lefty, their ace, Monday,” Jones said. “…If we do what we’re supposed to do. If we attack his fastball and were confident in ourselves, then I think we have a good chance to beat any opponent that we play.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org