Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Colonials Blow By New Kent In Season-Opener
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Mar 22, 2014, 19:24

Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS In their first official game of the 2014 season, the Colonials wasted little time in displaying the type of talent that is littering their roster in an impressive first inning display at the plate.

Colonial Heights pounded out nine hits and scored eight runs against a New Kent team which again figures to be one of the best in their conference. However, much of the offensive firepower and early run support could have been squandered in the third inning as the Trojans loaded the bases with no one out and the heart of the lineup due up.

Seth Markins, the Colonials' starting pitcher, dug down and did what a No. 1 pitcher should do. He regained focus and immediately forced the Trojans' clean-up hitter into a ground ball right back at him before tossing it to home to get a force out. Then, Markins did the same thing to the next batter before using a late-breaking curveball to force a pop-out to end the inning.

It was the type of pitching performance which can propel a pitcher to the finish and it did just that for Markins. The junior would strike out five hitters over the next two innings to finish a complete-game effort by allowing just one earned run and four hits in a dominating 13-2 Colonials victory which was also their manager's first as a varsity coach.

And it was the way Markins regained his composure during a rocky first few innings before seeing his stuff become more crisp in the latter stages as he toyed with the New Kent lineup which impressed manager Gerald Carsley.

"I think he does well and hits his spots," Carsley said of Markins. "That all sets up his fastball and he stayed ahead in the count for most of the innings ... They had the bases loaded and no outs and then he gets two balls hit back at him, so he was able to compose himself to get out of those jams."

Added Markins on the third inning jam, "I felt like I wasn't getting the outside corner, struggling throwing strikes and then I got frustrated ... I just stepped off the mound and said to myself, 'calm down, Seth. You got this."

Markins may have been referring to those outs and his ability to control the game from the mound, but the same words could have been spoken about a team-wide offensive display in the batter's box

While it was Markins who started the first inning rally with liner into centerfield, it truly began with an epic at-bat by Matt Young. With Markins already in scoring position after a sac-bunt by Jayson Maitland and following a Zach Stewart strikeout, Young quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole.

The senior right fielder stared at one pitch for a ball and then fouled off a sequence of inside and outside offerings, each one tougher than the previous. Then, Young found a pitch he could square up and did so with a screamer into right to drive in Markins and open up the floodgates.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot

"The two-out, two-strike at-bat Matt Young had really sparked us," Carsley said of the moment. "That set the tone. We scored eight runs after that. If he goes down swinging or pops it up, it's a different ball game, so that was huge."

Carsley wasn't exaggerating either.

Following Young's base-hit, the Colonials hit seven more in the inning while raising the pitch-count of New Kent's Chris Bashai over 40. In fact, Bashai was chased from the game after tossing just 2 2/3 innings while allowing 10 earned runs on nine hits.

It was such a complete offensive performance that eight different players for the Colonials had driven in at least one run on the afternoon including two a piece from both Maitland and Markins. Yet, even more impressive was the afternoon Noah Murdock had at the dish.

Murdock, normally known around the area for his pitching ability, went a perfect 4-for-4 with one double and three singles to help pace the offensive-attack. But the way he did it made it was what stood out. Whether the pitch was inside or outside, Murdock knew what to do to get the good part of the bat on the ball.

"He works hard. He really does," Carsley said of the sophomore. "He's one of the guys that whenever you workout, he's there. He likes to hit and he puts in the time in the cage and it's paying off for him."

But it's also paying off for the team as well.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot

The Colonials built off their dominating scrimmage win and continued to swing the bats at a high-level. There's a sense of confidence building around the team and it's easy to spot as each hitter or pitcher seems to feed off of each other.

"Right now, we're a great team. We're up for each other and doing the little things that make a team successful," Carsley explained. "The question is will that happen if we go down? If we're losing 6-1, are we still going to be yelling and celebrating ... That's when I know we're a team, but we're definitely heading in the right direction."

Momentum in baseball goes as far as the next day's starting pitcher, so there will be trying times ahead for the Colonials. Eleven-run victories won't be the norm. But if they stick together through the difficulties, there may be something special brewing in Colonial Heights.

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