Colonials Clobber Henrico For Fourth-Straight Win
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Apr 14, 2014, 22:25
Seth Markins rushes out of the box after his lead-off single
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Lead-off hitters and starting pitchers are two of more important positions on the field because without a pitcher mowing down the opposition or a lead-off hitter setting the table for his lineup, a team is likely to struggle. Luckily for the Colonials, they have Seth Markins who can fill both roles perfectly like he did Monday night against Henrico.
Markins earned the start in the first game of the Colonial Heights Spring Break Tournament and found himself struggling with his command within the strike zone. However, Markins would recover to get out of the inning after allowing just one hit before getting the Colonials to a good-start at the plate.
The junior stepped up to the dish and patiently worked the count to 2-0 before drilling a liner over Henrico shortstop Sam Schmidt's head for a single into left field. Markins then immediately stole second before tagging up on a Zach Stewart fly-out to advance to third. At that point, Markins raced home on a wild-pitch to tally the Colonials' first run of the game.
The head's up baseball play gave Colonial Heights the early lead and all the momentum as it put them well on their way to an 11-1 victory over the Warriors for their fourth-consecutive victory.
"He's hitting the ball very well right now, hitting a lot of line drives," manager Gerald Carsley said after the win. "When a kid can do that, their average is going to go sky-high if they swing the bat like that."
But while Markins impressed with his bat, finishing his night 2-for-3 with two singles, a walk and an RBI, he made his biggest impact on the pitching mound.
Markins did not have his great stuff out of the gates, but he impressed with his savvy to continue battling against a tough Henrico team. Numerous times throughout the game, Markins found himself on the ropes only to wiggle his way out of it.
With his team holding just a 1-0 lead, Markins found himself in a difficult situation in the Top of the 2nd. He had the bases loaded with just one out after surrendering two hard-hit singles and one dribbler up the middle. Yet, the junior stiffened in order to pick up a key strikeout and pop-out to end the threat. Markins would surrender just one more hit the rest of the way in a complete-game effort.
"He was working behind in the count and of course he had to lay a couple in there and they were able to square those up," Carsley said of his 5-inning, one-run, six-strikeout game. "As the game went on, he was able to settle down. He gets out of jams and is never rattled."
And neither was Stewart who picked up his first start of the season at second base and showed off some range that left the crowd in awe.
First Stewart ranged to his left and gloved a tough hop while sprawling out to keep a run from scoring in the second before outdoing himself in the 4th. With Henrico trying to get on the scoreboard, Daniel Mumphrey laced a grounder up the middle for what looked like a base-hit.
However, Stewart had other ideas as he ranged all the way to the left side of second base, gloved the grounder and fired across his body to first base to record the out, leaving much of the crowd speechless.
"Zach is a good athlete and he can play just about anywhere in the infield," Carsley explained. "He could play in the outfield if we needed him too. But he's doing a good job of if we need him to go somewhere, he accepts the role and is able to get the job done."
Jayson Maitland is swarmed by teammates after delivering a big two-RBI double in the third inning and advancing all the way home on an errant throw
Perhaps no one got the job done better than the Colonial Heights offensive-attack. Following two consecutive innings of only pushing one run across, the Colonials knew an adjustment needed to be made.
Mumphrey was exploiting the Colonials' patience at the plate while pounding the outside corner for consistent strikes and when they did swing, it was pounded into the dirt or popped up for easy outs. But it all changed in the 3rd inning.
Stewart jump-started the inning with a double down the left-field line with two outs and was followed by Noah Murdock reaching base on a strikeout which got away from the catcher. Then, Jayson Maitland delivered the big-blow, launching a 1-2 offering into the left-centerfield gap for a two-RBI double before finding advancing all the way home on an errant throw.
The carnage continued in the 4th as the Colonials plated four more runs on hits by Reed Raikes, Drew Mehford and doubles by Stewart and Murdock to blow it open. Even Jackson Cox joined the parade in the bottom of the 5th with a sacrifice-fly which promptly ended the game due to the 10-run mercy rule.
But even with his Colonials excelling in all three phases: pitching, hitting and defense, Carsley knows there is still work to do.
"We don't want to get too caught up in that," he said of the win-streak. "We just have to try to win one game, day-by-day and move on from there."
Two close losses to begin the season seem like a distant memory as the Colonials are playing confident baseball. They are doing the little things — tagging up, getting good jumps, laying down bunts — that are needed to win, but remaining consistent is the next step for the team to conquer in order to stay successful.