Sherando baseball cruises past James Wood 13-0
FRONT ROYAL — Anybody wondering if a Sherando baseball team that ran roughshod over the Northwestern District during the regular season would continue its dominant ways in the postseason did not have to wait long to find out.
Taking on fourth-seeded James Wood in the semifinals of the district tournament, the Warriors exploded for seven runs on seven hits in the first inning and never looked back on their way to a 13-0 win that was shortened to five innings by the mercy rule at Bing Crosby Stadium Monday.
“We were just trying to put the ball in play and it seemed to work,” said Sherando senior Justin Angel, who finished 3 for 3 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.
“We definitely hit the ball pretty well today and it’s nice just to be able to hit the ball all the way through the lineup like we did. There’s no guaranteed outs.”
James Wood (9-13) starter Addison Barber actually struck out Taylor Loudan to start the bottom half of the first inning and, after giving up a triple to Adam Whitacre and an error and a walk, got opposing pitcher Reid Entsminger to fly out to center field for the second out of the inning.
But then things got out of hand.
Starting with senior Jack Bentley’s RBI double to left that plated two, Sherando (19-1) proceeded to string together six consecutive two-out hits and by the time Jacob Carney — the 12th batter of the inning for the Warriors — struck out the damage had been done.
“That’s pretty much something we’ve been doing well offensively throughout the season. We’ve been finding ways to score runs with two outs and that’s very important,” said Sherando coach Pepper Martin. “You have to have somebody step up with two outs and runners in scoring position and get the job done and we were able to do that and get that lead.”
In all the Warriors totaled a triple, two doubles, four singles and a walk and saw 40 pitches in the first inning alone and the Colonels simply never recovered.
Sherando added two more in the second, on two-out RBI doubles from Angel and fellow senior Jeb Brown, three in the third and another in the fourth.
Handed a commanding lead after one inning, Entsminger (7-0) let his defense make plays behind him all game long.
Sporting an area-best 0.45 ERA coming in, the junior right-hander allowed just two hits and needed only seven pitches to get out of three of five innings he threw, getting a nice 5-4-3 double play after hitting the leadoff hitter in the fourth.
“When you score that many runs for your pitcher he can’t help but be efficient,” said Martin about Entsminger, who needed just 63 pitches to record the win. “Reid, for the most part, got ahead in the count and he didn’t have a high pitch count. They swung at a lot of pitches and hit them, but they only hit about two or three balls fairly hard, the rest were routine flies and grounders.”
Eight players tallied a hit and nine scored a run for the Warriors who finished with 15 hits and five walks, including an impressive 10-for-12 performance from the bottom of the order.
Starting with No. 6 hitter Bentley (2 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored) and running through nine-hole hitter Connor Stevenson (2 for 3 with a run scored) the bottom four hitters in the Sherando lineup accounted for nine RBIs and six runs scored, including a perfect 3-for-3 showing from senior Jeb Brown who had a double and three RBIs.
“What I was really pleased with was we got production once again from the bottom half of our lineup,” Martin said. “That’s what’s helped make us so strong offensively this year. In years past we might have had five really good hitters in the top half of our lineup, and then our six through nine weren’t that good, we had to manufacture something.
“This year we’re pretty strong one through nine and what’s really satisfying to us as coaches is that a different player steps up almost every game.”
Sherando will face Millbrook, which beat Skyline 9-3 in the other semifinal, in the tournament championship at 6 p.m. today at Bing Crosby Stadium.
The loss ends a disappointing season for James Wood, which had high hopes coming in after closing out last year by winning five of its final seven games.
But the Colonels struggled to find any sort of consistency and lost to Sherando for the fourth time this season.
“They were on and we were not,” said James Wood coach Jared Mounts, who pulled Barber after two innings and used relievers Cameron Gross and Noah Keller to finish the game. “It’s one of those things where we have to have our best night and they need to be off and that just didn’t happen.
“I thought we hit the ball hard on the nose, but we just hit it right at guys and they play good defense, it’s just one of those things. We made a couple errors here and there but that wasn’t the determining factor in the game. They beat us, they’re better than us and they beat us.”
— Contact Kevin Trudgeon at firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1