Thomas Dale Comes Alive Against Royals
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Apr 14, 2014, 13:20
The Thomas Dale varsity baseball squad marched into spring break with two consecutive wins, the second of which proved to be the strongest performance by the Knights this season.
Through solid execution on both offense and defense, Thomas Dale (3-3) dismantled the Prince George Royals in a 9-1 rout at the Matt Gwaltney Field on Friday night.
"This is our best overall effort. This is our best game thus far out of the six games. We put it all together tonight," said head coach Chris Marshall after the game.
After struggling in the first inning to get men on base, Marshall decided to go for the small ball approach rather than primarily grabbing big hits.
With Corey Johnston on base in the second inning, both Taylor Trueheart and Tommy Barron grabbed effective bunts, loading the plates.
With a comfortable lack of outs in the inning, Blake Hartman stepped up to bat and smashed a power hit over centerfield and past the fence, earning a grand slam to take a 4-0 lead.
Marshall said that the Knights have had troubles so far this season earning big hits, something that was not a problem for them on Friday, with nine runs, eight RBIs and 10 players left on base.
Hartman earned four RBIs and two runs in the win, followed by Brian Goodwyn with two RBIs, one of which was a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
Six different players had runs for Thomas Dale, Trueheart, Hartman and Clayton Dalkiewicz each with two runs.
Although the game lasted seven innings, the Knights basically put the nails in Prince George's coffin with six runs in the second inning, and a smothering defense that only allowed one Royal run to follow, scored by Earl Long.
Prince George (5-3) had a comeback glimpse with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Montae Bradshaw connected with the ball sending it flying high over right field, but Hartman caught the ball and threw a bullet to Trueheart for a double play to close out the inning.
Marshall gave credit to the Royals, who have previously demonstrated themselves to be a competitive opponent through scrappy play, small ball hits and tight games, but said that the Knights just took advantage of their early acquired dominance on Friday night.
"[When you've] got somebody on the ropes, you've got to knock them out. And we did it tonight," Marshall said.
Winning pitcher Nathan Eaton started the game with two quick strikeouts, finishing with six strikeouts over five innings and giving up one run.
"Nate was unbelievable on the mound. He basically shut [Prince George] down, like we needed him to do," Marshall said.
Closing pitcher Corey Johnston took over for Eaton in the sixth inning, allowing a single hit and garnering six outs through seven at bats.
Prince George struggled to find their pitching niche during the loss, shuffling through five different pitchers over the course of the game in hopes of stifling the offensive thunder of the Knights.
With a two game win streak under Thomas Dale's belt as they enter spring break, having beaten Meadowbrook 14-0 on Thursday, Marshall said they need to harness that momentum and come back out strong when they face Manchester on April 21.
"We'll stay positive and we'll work hard in our practices next week," Marshall said.