Generals playoff win carries over to new season

NEW MARKET — Stonewall Jackson’s baseball team ended last season on a positive note after winning a playoff game for the first time in years. On Tuesday, the Generals picked up where they left off.

The Generals used a balanced hitting attack and solid pitching to ease past Rappahannock County, 9-4, in non-district action.

“We did pretty good,” Stonewall Jackson senior Tyler Somers said. “We had a few mental mistakes for our first game. After two weeks of snow and rain its not too bad. …We were anxious for the game to start and then finally got settled back in and played our own game.”

The Panthers struck first. Rappahannock County’s John Norris led off with a single against Stonewall Jackson starting pitcher Nick Dotson. Brett Midkiff then reached on an error.

An error on a fly ball hit by Michael Czekaj scored Norris for a 1-0 lead. Chantz Murphy followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0.

“I think Nick (Dotson) was a little jittery at first, and then he kind of settled down,” Stonewall Jackson coach Mike Lenox said. “He started throwing harder pitches, started locating better — the Nick that I need. I told him you started for a reason. You have the ability to succeed on the mound at a high level and you just got to compete. And I think after that he settled down and realized to just trust his stuff and he did.”

The Generals tied it up in the bottom half of the inning. Stonewall’s Cole Holsinger led off with a bunt single. One out later, Holsinger scored on a two-base error off the bat of Duncan Schroeder.

Somers drew a walk and Dylan Vann was hit by a pitch from Rappahannock County starting pitcher Murphy. Schroeder then scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Brett Jones.

The Generals took the lead for good in the bottom of the second. Matt Dove and Logan Ritchie reached on back-to-back errors to start the inning.

With two outs, Schroeder knocked in two with a bloop single for a 4-2 edge. Schroeder stole second and eventually scored on an RBI single by Dylan Vann for a 5-2 lead.

Stonewall Jackson added three more in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Ritchie and Holsinger had back-to-back doubles.

Nick Dotson was hit by a pitch and Schroeder reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases. Somers followed with a two-run single to stretch the lead to 8-2.

“Coach Lenox has been trying to keep me working the backside of the field,” Somers said. “So I just trusted in that and hit it over there.”

The Panthers (0-1) scored a run in the top of the fourth. Murphy and Sam Barnes had back-to-back singles and with one out Murphy scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Ramey.

The Generals (1-0) added another run in the bottom of the fifth. Dove doubled down the left-field line to start the inning. With one out, Holsinger was hit by a pitch, and Dotson followed with a groundout RBI for a 9-3 advantage.

Dotson threw four innings, allowing just four hits, striking out six with no walks. Ritchie pitched one inning in relief and Wyatt Estep pitched the last two for the Generals.

Stonewall Jackson had nine hits, and eight players reached base at least once in the contest.

“Offensively I feel good,” Lenox said. “That’s something that I felt we’ve been missing here in the past — just one-through-nine can get a hit, put the ball in play. I thought we did a good job with two-out hits tonight. We’ve struggled with that in the past. So those two things are major keys that we’ve been working on really hard with this group.”

The Panthers were led at the plate by Barnes with two hits.

Holsinger and Jones each had two hits to lead the Generals.

Stonewall Jackson returns most of its players from last year’s squad, including five seniors, and Lenox said it’s a good position to be in.

“It’s nice to have that and it’s something that I haven’t really had since I’ve been here,” Lenox said. “They just know what to do. I don’t have to tell them anymore. They know what to expect. So I think the senior leadership — just the senior mentality. They’ve won playoff games. They’ve been there and done that before. That’s going to help us down the stretch.”

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