April 23, 2010
Colley Field – It happens a lot. One team scores more runs in one big inning than the losing team can muster the entire game. Henrico (2-2; 8-5) scored five runs in the fourth inning and tacked on one more in the fifth to earn a 6-4 victory over Atlee (4-1; 8-6) in a Capital District contest.
Henrico’s win tightens the district race as teams reach the half way mark in district competition. “This one’s for you coach” was heard over and over from each “Warrior” player at the end of the game. Henrico head coach Ken Schrad was suspended from participating after being ejected from Tuesday’s Lee Davis game. Assistant coach Jason Moore guided the “Warriors” against the “Raiders.”
Two lefties started the game for each team - Paul Bateera for Henrico and Luke Bolka for Atlee. Both were effective at keeping batters off stride
Atlee did score in the first inning. Chop Pulisic led off with an infield single. Despite a pick play, he stole second before Henrico first baseman Cody Spain could make the relay throw. He stole third and Paul Keyes followed with an RBI double. The inning ended with two pop ups.
Henrico did not get its first hit until the second inning. Landon Prentiss slapped a single up the middle of the infield. But, he was wiped off the bases when Nick Toombs hit into a double play.
In the fourth, Bolka lost his control, walking two consecutive batters – Jordan Doggett and Bateera. Michael Mansfield then slapped an RBI single up the middle to tie the game.
Ryan Bettinger came on in relief but the big inning ensued. Prentiss looped a single over the infield to load the bases. Atlee brought its infield in to cut off any run. It looked like a good strategy when Toombs grounded to short who threw home to force out Bateera. But, catcher Mitch Keeler’s throw to first base for the double play sailed into right field. Mansfield and Prentiss scored and Toombs stood on third base. Andrew Props smashed a triple to right center to score Toombs. Spain followed with a single to left field to score Props. Nick Holmes walked. But, the big inning ended when Treyvon Robinson hit into a double play.
Bateera responded with a shut down top of the fifth. Henrico added a run in its half of the frame. Bettinger walked two. Both were erased at second base on failed run and hit play attempts. After the second walk, Bettinger was relieved by Conner Overton. Mansfield welcomed him to the game with a triple. Prentiss followed with an RBI single to left field and Henrico held a 6-1 lead.
Bateera finished the sixth. But, it was shaky as his pitch count was into the 80s. Following a first batter pop out to third base, Austin Young singled to right field and advance to second when the ball skipped off Toombs’ glove. Brent West singled putting runners at the corners. Keeler doubled to left center to score Young. With West at third and Conner Cole at second (running for the catcher), Atlee coach Kevin Elrod called for a squeeze play. However, Bettinger failed to make contact and Props tagged out West at the plate. Bettinger made up for the failed squeeze by scoring Cole on a single to left field. The inning ended on Bateera’s fifth strike out of the night. The score was 6-3.
Two walks and a hit batter allowed Henrico to load the bases in the sixth, but the “Warriors” did not score. In all, 10 “Warriors” were walked during the course of the game which is the primary reason why Henrico won despite being out hit 9-7.
The top of the seventh got very interesting. Bateera got ahead 0-2 to Conner Overton. But, his next curve ball bounced in the dirt and caught Overton in the leg. Pulisic hit a come backer that Bateera could only slap with his glove. The ball trickled beyond the mound and runners were at first and second with no outs. Prentiss was called on to save the game.
He did so with authority. He struck out Keyes. The first pitch to Young was in the dirt and got away from Props. The runners advanced. So, Young, a dangerous hitter, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
West struck out. Keeler hit a ball near the second base bag that Doggett fielded. But, his flip throw handcuffed Mansfield who had moved from third base to play shortstop. Overton scored on the bobbled play. Doggett made a clean play on the next ground ball hit by Bettinger who was thrown out at first base and the “Warriors” survived the “Raiders” comeback bid.