Generals start off slow, fall to Gladiators

Riverheads' Elijah Dunlap gets on the ground to field a throw to second base on a steal attempt by Stonewall's Cody Cline during second inning action Friday evening at Rebel Park in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

NEW MARKET – Stonewall Jackson started off slow and couldn’t get on track Friday night at Rebel Park.

The Generals fell behind early in a 10-0 loss to Riverheads in Shenandoah District baseball action. The game only went five innings due to the mercy rule.

“We showed very little heart tonight, and I think that’s the most disappointing thing than anything,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeremy Knight said. “They got deflated real quick.”

The Gladiators took an early lead in the top of the first.

Stonewall Jackson starting pitcher Matt Dove walked Braeson Fulton, hit Michael Robertson with a pitch and walked Forest Shuey to load the bases.

Stonewall's Matthew Dove fires a pitch against Riverheads during baseball action Friday evening at Rebel Park in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

With one out, Riverheads’ Grant Painter two-run single gave the Gladiators a 2-0 lead. Elijah Dunbar drew a walk from Dove to load the bases again. With two outs, Adam Painter’s infield RBI single stretched the lead to 3-0.

“I thought overall we had a good approach at the plate,” Riverheads coach Rodney Painter said. “Our pitchers (Jakob King and Chad Butler) came in there and threw strikes. I thought the defense made the plays. …(King) pounded the strike zone and allowed the defense to make plays behind him.”

The Gladiators (9-4, 7-4 Shenandoah) pulled away for good in the top of the fourth. With one out Fulton, Robertson and Shuey each drew a walk from Dove to load the bases.

A sacrifice fly RBI by King extended the lead to 4-0. Grant Painter followed with an RBI single. Dunlap drew another walk from Dove to load the bases, which ended Dove’s day on the mound.

“It wasn’t Dove’s night,” Knight said. “He’s been pretty consistent and pretty tough all year. He’s not a strikeout pitcher but I don’t think all night they put consecutive hits together. So I told him I don’t care if they hit vehicles out there I want you just throwing strikes. And he, for whatever reason, just didn’t have it tonight.”

Stonewall Jackson sophomore Tyler Dellinger relieved Dove, and Bradley Roberts’ two-run single gave the Gladiators a 7-0 edge.

The Gladiators scored two more runs in the inning on two Stonewall Jackson errors to stretch the lead to 9-0.

Riverheads added another run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Butler.

King threw four innings and Butler pitched the fifth inning, combining on a one-hitter as the Generals (4-10, 4-7 Shenandoah) couldn’t muster any offense.

“Give their pitchers credit. They threw it across the plate but it wasn’t nothing we couldn’t handle and nothing we haven’t seen all year long,” Knight said. “We saw 85 (mile an hour pitches) on Monday (against Page County) and tonight 75 and we couldn’t figure it out. It’s frustrating. It’s a tough one to take at this point in the season.”

Grant Painter and Bradley Roberts led the Gladiators offense with two hits each.

Rodney Painter said he’s happy with his team’s play so far this year.

“I think overall we’ve played pretty well,” he said. “We’ve got some things, obviously, that we got to work on. It’s the second half of the season, so hopefully, those mistakes that we made earlier in the season, hopefully, we’ve corrected those.”

Dove had Stonewall Jackson’s only hit. The Generals have three games next week, including hosting Central on Monday.

Knight said that his team needs to regroup quickly.

“This is obviously a setback and we’ll come back with hopefully a better attitude and mindset against Central,” he said. “We’re still in the middle of this district. …Obviously, we automatically go to regionals and right now we’re in the middle of that. We’re in the thick of it and I think it’s going to work out for us pretty well, but we’ve got to get more mentally tough.”