Generals riding high after win over Falcons

Central's Sam Shifflett slides safely into third on a steal attempt as Stonewall's Jalen Kane puts on the tag during fifth inning action Monday evening at Rebel Park in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

NEW MARKET – Stonewall Jackson’s baseball season has been full of highs and lows. The last three games have been perfect examples.

The Generals’ 7-6 victory over Shenandoah County rival Central on Monday was one of the highs.

The win came on the heels of one of the big lows, a 10-0 loss to Riverheads on Friday. The Generals also lost a close contest to Shenandoah District leader Page County earlier last week.

“It just shows you when we show up and play we can play with anybody,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeremy Knight said after the win over Central. “Other than Riverheads our last three games were against the No. 1 team in our district (Page County) and the No. 1 team in the Bull Run (Central). And we played  two close games and had a chance in both. And obviously, we pulled this one out. It just depends on what Stonewall team shows up.”

The Generals (5-10, 4-7 Shenandoah) saw a big lead evaporate against the Falcons, but came back to win it.

Central's Jared Rice turns a double play as Stonewall's Cody Cline slides into second base during second inning action Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

With the game tied in the bottom of the fifth, Stonewall Jackson’s Austin Ritchie drew a walk from Central relief pitcher Hayden Shifflett. With one out, he moved to third on a double by Matt Showman.

Stonewall Jackson’s Nick Dotson’s sacrifice fly RBI gave the Generals a 7-6 lead and they held on for the win.

“I kind of expected he was going to come with a fastball,” Dotson said. “So knowing there was a guy on second and third and there was less than two outs, I’m thinking I’m either going to try to square the ball up, hit it solid so I can get a sacrifice fly, or I’m just going to try to hit a little ground ball to the right side or something solid so that we could score a run. I wasn’t worried if I was going to get on base or if I was going to get a hit. I just wanted to do the job and get a run in.”

Stonewall Jackson led 6-2 after four innings before the Falcons scored four runs in the top of the fifth.

Knight said that at the start of the season his team would not have bounced back after seeing a lead disappear.

Central's Gus Wightman loses his balance as he attempts to catch a foul ball along the fence in left field during third inning action against Stonewall Monday evening. Wightman had the ball in his glove, but it bounced out during the attempt. Rich Cooley/Daily

“That’s where I think we’re turning the corner,” he said. “We’re still not quite there yet. But we’re turning the corner, because before early in the regular season if we got up on somebody and somebody came back like that we let the snowball keep rolling. Where (Monday) we put a stop to it. And then we came back out and we manufactured a run, the run that we needed and then we held on from there. That’s what good baseball teams do. They don’t let things affect them. And early on if we struck out in the first inning, it affected us all the way through seven (innings).”

A big key for the Generals in the victory was the balanced offense. All nine batters had at least one hit.

Stonewall Jackson senior Tyler Somers said it’s a good feeling to see everyone getting a hit.

“You start off, obviously, with the top of the lineup. And then when the bottom feeds off of it too, everyone has the energy and the hits just continue to run down the chain,” Somers said.

The two teams met on March 15, a Central 10-0 win that ended after five innings due to the mercy rule. Dotson said that was one of the low points of the Generals’ season.

Stonewall's shortstop Logan Ritchie moves to put a tag on Central's Andrew Daugherty on a steal attempt during fourth inning action Monday evening. Rich Cooley/Daily

Monday’s contest was Central’s low point. The Falcons entered the game with a 13-1 record and Central coach Sean Semones said he was disappointed with his team’s play.

“We didn’t come ready to play,” he said. “Our heads weren’t in it. The focus was not there. Lack of effort – the first time all season that I’ve been able to say that. Terrible approaches at the plate, bad defense, didn’t throw strikes and just bone-headed mistakes. And that’s what’s going to create some losses.”

The Falcons (13-2, 4-1 Bull Run) were led at the plate by Jared Rice and Sam Shifflett with two hits and an RBI each.

Somers went 4.1 innings, but Knight said he had Somers on a pitch count so he could pitch again later in the week. Somers struck out five. Dotson came in to relieve Somers and picked up the win on the mound.

Stonewall Jackson’s Matt Dove and Brendan Hoover had two hits and two RBIs each.

Stonewall's Andrew Dotson dives back to first base during this pick-off attempt by Central first baseman Sam Shifflett during third inning action Monday evening. Rich Cooley/Daily

Somers said the Generals need to build on the win and keep the momentum going.

“The Riverheads game (last week) wasn’t pretty,” he said. “And we’ve had a couple games where we were a little shaky. But then sometimes this team shows up and sometimes we get the team from the Riverheads game to show up. And hopefully, we can just stick with this team we have now. And keep that energy going, same focus, same drive. And not be content with ‘oh we got a county win, so let’s just fold now.’ No, let’s keep it going.”

Stonewall Jackson shortstop Nick Dotson scoops up a late throw on a steal attempt by Central's Jared Rice on April 30. Dotson capped off his strong athletic season with 22 runs scored and 10 RBIs for Stonewall Jackson's baseball team. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Stonewall's Andrew Dotson, left, celebrates with teammate Matthew Dove after scoring a run during third inning action. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall's Tyler Somers, right, greets Andrew Dotson, left, after Dotson's sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall's Brendan Hoover attempts a bunt during fifth inning action. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall's Brendan Hoover runs across the field Monday evening after defeating Central 7-6 at Rebel Park in New Market. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall's Tyler Somers fires a pitch during their game Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Central's Gus Wightman fires a pitch during their game Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily