Hopewell Falls To Colonials
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
May 14, 2014, 12:40
Andy Howell gets a high leg kick during his wind up in the early innings against Colonial Heights.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—This time it was the bottom of the fourth inning that led to another Blue Devil’s loss, 9-4, to Colonial Heights Tuesday night at Shepherd Stadium. All season long, Hopewell’s baseball team has been plagued by one or two innings where they give their opponents some extra outs and wind up paying for it in the loss column.
The Colonials bump their record to 10-6 and ride a two-game winning streak. Cameron Hill was 2 for 4; Trent Scott was 2 for 3; and Will Avery and Nemo Nunez both doubled for Hopewell. Seth Markins earned the win, and helped himself with a pair of RBIs and was 2 for 4 at the plate. Noah Murdock also had two RBIs, and was 2 for 3 with a triple to lead the Colonials.
For the first three innings Tuesday, it looked like the Blue Devils might have a chance to sneak a win away from a pretty solid Colonial Heights team. After taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Blue Devils fell behind when Markins and Matt Falls scored in the bottom of the inning. Markins would score again in the top of the second to make the score 3-1, but were able to hold the score at 3-1 going into the top of the fourth inning.
The Blue Devils had reason to be hopeful. They had been able to thwart the Colonials and hold down their run production early with decent pitching behind Andy Howell and they had been able to string together a few hits to score a run in the top of the first inning on back-to-back singles by Hill and Scott.
But then came that inning again. The inning that has created problems for the Blue Devils and kept them from success in key games most of the season.
“We had some younger kids come up and I think they were a little nervous. But they did fine. I think we jumped and had the big inning and then we backed off a little bit, and we can’t do that, Colonials Coach Gerald Carsley said.
The inning started with a one-out walk to Jayson Maitland followed by Murdock’s triple to the right center-field fence. A high throw to the relay allowed Murdock to score on the play. After Matt Young reached on a walk, Drew Mehfoud, Reed Raikes, and Zach Stoupa singled in succession. With the bases loaded, Markins ripped a double to left field that got past the fielder and allowed two runs to score. Stoupa and Markins both managed to cross the plate in the inning before Hopewell could end the outburst.
“I told our guys that’s been kind of our downfall all year. We have one bad inning where we tend to let the other team have extra outs and they take advantage of it and score runs in bunches,” Blue Devils Coach Bobby Pershing said. “The last time we played Colonial Heights they had a couple innings where they scored in bunches and took us out of the game early.”
This time it was a bit different. After the six run outburst made the score 9-1, the Blue Devils were able to keep the Colonials from scoring again while the pushed a few runs across on their own.
The come-back attempt started with Jermaine Lee’s one-out single in the top of the fifth. After it looked like the Colonials might escape the inning without yielding a run, Hill and Scott hit back-to-back singles to score Lee and put pressure on the Colonials. Markins was able to stop Hopewell’s charge with a strike out, leaving the score 9-2.
“Hopewell is a much improved team. Those kids play hard, and you never see them quit. They had plenty of base hits tonight and strung a few together twice,’ Carsley said.
Then came the top of the sixth inning. Avery and Nunez opened the scoring with back-to-back doubles. Both would score to cut the lead to five runs, 9-4. Unfortunately, that outburst wasn’t enough to change the tide of the game.
“We made good contact tonight, but we are still getting too many fly ball outs. Colonial Heights plays good defense and we need to get batters on base to put pressure on them,” Pershing said.
Blue Devil Coach Bobby Pershing helps Cameron Hill get ready to take the mound in relief in the bottom of the fourth inning to try to stop a Colonials' surge.
The Colonials sent Zach Stewart to the mound to close out the game. Stewart was able to shut down Hopewell, allowing one batter to reach on a walk while striking out two and getting the final out on a ground ball.
Pershing said his team needs to get better and try to overcome that one bad inning. They will need to be on top of their game with the Conference 26 tournament looming. Not knowing many of their conference opponents will make it a challenge, Pershing said. But they are getting valuable experience and there is an opportunity for them to advance in the tournament.
“We are kind of going into the conference tournament blind. We’re still going to have to play well and see if we can extend the season a little bit. Tonight the team did more good than bad, and we just have to keep improving on that,” Pershing said.