May 25, 2010
Hanover HS – Senior Michael Mansfield threw a complete game two-hitter to lead Henrico (6-5; 13-8) to an 8-3 victory over Lee Davis (9-3; 16-4) in a Capital District tournament semi-final game. The victory sends the “Warriors” to the championship game against Hanover which defeated Atlee 8-1 in the other semi-final.
“Well, we’re there [title game] and now we’ll face the team that has dominated the Capital District for a number of years,” said Henrico head coach Ken Schrad. “We certainly respect their program. We’ve had some great contests between us the past few years,” he added. “Our kids appreciate the opportunity to play the ‘Hawks’ again.”
Mansfield showed why he was selected as an all-Capital District first team pitcher. He kept the “Confederates hitless for the first four innings. For the game, he struck out eight, walked two, and stayed ahead in the count on 17 of the 26 batters he faced. He threw first pitch strikes to 15 of 26.
His confidence on the mound was helped by a huge first inning which included his own two-run home run. With one out, Paul Bateera reached on an error. A sacrifice bunt attempt failed. Mansfield worked the count to 3-1 off starting Lee Davis pitcher Greg Frame. The next pitch was sent over the fence in right center field.
Landon Prentiss and Andrew Props each followed with singles. Nick Toombs then hit a double to the base of the fence in right center field scoring Prentiss and Props. Toombs took third on the throw to the plate. Cody Spain then slapped a hard grounder to third base that was bobbled. Spain was safe and Toombs scored the fifth run of the frame.
While Mansfield was keeping the Lee Davis hitters quiet, “Confederate” lefty Mike Thomas took the mound in the second inning and silenced the “Warriors’” bats.
Lee Davis broke the ice in the fourth. With two outs, Thomas lifted a fly ball to the right field warning track that was not caught. He stood on second with a “thank you very much” double. Jordan Boze took advantage of the opening by launching a home run over the left-center field fence. After four, it was 5-2.
Henrico struck back immediately. Jordan Doggett singled. Mansfield doubled. Prentiss was intentionally walked to load the bases. A strike out followed. But, Toombs looped a ball into shallow right field allowing Doggett to score. Mansfield scored on a wild pitch that also allowed Prentiss and Toombs to advance. Prentiss scored on a single up the middle by Nick Holmes. Henrico held an 8-2 advantage.
Lee Davis’ final score came in the bottom of the fifth without a hit. With two outs, Logan Heckman reached on an error. He stole second base. On a dirt ball read, he advanced to third. The throw to third base by the catcher Props was off the mark, and Heckman trotted home. Unfazed by the snafus, Mansfield got his third strike out of the inning.
He also made it clear, “Coach this game is mine.” He delivered.
It was three up, three down in the sixth and three up, three down in the seventh. Prentiss made two smooth plays on ground balls at shortstop on each side of a strike out in the sixth. A fly out to Holmes in right, a come backer to the mound, and a strike out looking ended the game.
“Mike was the best I’ve ever seen him,” said Schrad. “I think what was most impressive was his professional demeanor on the mound. He was there to do a job and he refused to let anything distract him – the crowd, the opponent, the playoff atmosphere, a couple of our own mistakes.”
Schrad added, “His team helped him with a lot of run support, too. And, they also did not rattle. They showed they can move on to the next play, and perform without dwelling on a pervious play of which the outcome cannot be changed.”