Goodwyn, Fleischer Splash Through Wave
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Apr 24, 2014, 20:41
Brian Goodwyn went 4-for-4 from the plate while driving in five runs.
PETERSBURG — Thomas Dale's Brian Goodwyn prides himself on being a table-setter at the top of the lineup. He expects to get a hit or find his way on base in every single at-bat to create havoc on an opposing pitcher's psyche with his speed while also scoring runs for the middle-of-the-order bats.
It's why Goodwyn, even after a Knights' 8-4 victory over the Colonials Tuesday night, was upset with his performance. The team's second baseman started off the game with a single, but was caught stealing — a rare event in his career — and it resulted in a 1-for-4 performance.
The off-night left him determined to turn it around in the Knights' next game and he didn't waste much time doing so.
Following Nathan Eaton's fly-out to begin the game, Goodwyn turned on an 2-0 fastball from Petersburg starter Stephen McCoy, lacing it into left field for a single. Then, the senior immediately took off for second, swiping the bag to put himself in scoring position for Collin Fleischer.
After getting ahead in the count 2-0, Fleischer chased Goodwyn in from second on a frozen-rope single to left to give the Knights their first run in a game they dominated from start-to-finish for a 12-0 road win.
And the biggest catalyst for the victory was the player who scored the team's first run.
Goodwyn's 1st inning at-bat set the tone for his entire game as he went a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with four singles, two runs scored and had a 5-RBI night. After struggling against the Colonials, Goodwyn simplified his at-bats.
Instead of trying to do too much by driving the ball, Goodwyn simply sought to make solid contact and it resulted in line drives all over the diamond. It was the type of game the senior expects out of himself.
"I just went up there looking to hit the ball hard, especially after coming off a rough game," he said after his effort. "I just kept it simple and didn't try to do too much up there."
But he was not alone in a dominating offensive display from Thomas Dale in which they scored 12 runs on 10 hits and could have easily had more if some weren't hit right at the Crimson Wave outfielders.
Batting in the No. 3 hole, Fleischer also had himself one of his better games of the season thus far.
The Knights' third baseman drove in the first run of the game and combined with Goodwyn to form a dangerous one-two punch at the top of the lineup. After also having just a 1-for-4 night against Colonial Heights, Fleischer took the Crimson Wave pitching staff to task on a 2-for-3 night at the plate for 4 RBIs of his own.
When added all together, Goodwyn and Fleischer combined for six hits and 9 RBIs out of the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, impressing manager Chris Marshall.
"That's an excellent day," Marshall said of the duo's stats. "That's why they're in those spots. They produce."
However, the production of the middle of the order was not the most important aspect of Thomas Dale's convincing victory over the Crimson Wave. Instead, it was the outing of their Opening Day starter who has struggled to begin the season.
Last year's all-district pitcher, Tommy Barron has not found the same type of success that he had last season. Barron is not an overpowering type of pitcher, instead relying on the natural movement he creates from his three-quarter arm-angle to get swings and misses and ground balls.
Tommy Barron hurled three shutout innings as he rediscovered his groove against Petersburg
However, that movement had disappeared through his first two starts of the season — losses to both Matoaca and Varina. The problem seemed to come from attempting to overthrow his pitches which flattened out his fastball making it easier for opponents to square up.
Yet, it was a different story against Petersburg.
Barron surrendered a lead-off single on a ball hit up the middle that glanced off his glove before retiring the next nine Crimson Wave batters in a row. Barron's fastball had late-life on it, sinking down and in as just one Petersburg batter was able to lift the ball in the air against the right-hander.
"I wanted him to get that confidence back," Marshall said of Barron. "We're going to need him. It hasn't been the greatest start, but the kid was all-district last year for pitching. He'll get it going."
Added Barron on his 34-pitch, 3-inning, one-hit and four-strikeout effort, "It felt a lot better to bounce back first of all. Second of all, I'm glad we got the win even though it took us a while to hit. I threw a lot of strikes and my pitch-count was low, so I felt good."
If Barron feels good, opponents of the Knights won't be as their pitching rotation has hit their groove during the current five-game win-streak. Counting the junior's effort, Thomas Dale has now outscored opponents by a 44-to-5 mark over the last five games with much of the credit going to dominating pitching performances.
A hot pitching staff couldn't have come at a better time for the Knights as they face two critical games against Dinwiddie and Matoaca over the coming week. And if their recent play is any indication, Thomas Dale could find themselves as the team-to-beat at the week's conclusion.