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Patriots power past Rockingham C.C.; sweep season series 4-0

April 13, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, VA. — The Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) baseball team showed no signs of stopping its April surge Wednesday (Apr. 13) against visiting Rockingham Community College.

The Patriots pounded out 18 hits on their way to a decisive 17-4 victory over the Eagles, completing a four-game season sweep over their Region X neighbors from North Carolina. PHCC averaged better than 15 runs per game in the series, outscoring Rockingham 61-14.

It was the 10th straight win for the Patriots (29-13), marking their second double-digit win streak of the season — reeling off a season-high 12 in a row in March. With the final weeks of the regular season on the horizon, PHCC coach Frank Jagoda said Wednesday’s win was more about preparation for what lies ahead, including another important Region X series at Lenoir Community College this weekend.

“Altogether, we were able to get some guys to do some different things today which was nice to see,” Jagoda said. “We got a lot of pitchers some work and gave a lot of other guys an opportunity to get multiple at bats off the bench. That’s going to be important as we get down the home stretch and moving forward into the conference tournament.

“We don’t even talk about it,” Jagoda added about the current win streak. “I think the only people that talk about it are the people that ask me questions. It’s one inning, one pitch, one at bat at a time. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.”

The Patriots used seven different pitchers, starting sophomore Freddy Gerdtommarkotten (Verl, Germany) for two innings. Freshman Rhett Miller (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Chris Douglass (Sydney, Australia) also pitched two solid innings while middle reliever, sophomore Miguel Lopez (Coral Springs, Fla.), worked out of a bases loaded, no-out situation by allowing just one run in the seventh inning.

Jagoda said his first three pitchers were able to get key extended innings. He also added that the back end of the bullpen of sophomore Robert Fitzwater (Suffolk, Va.), sophomore Kemper Terry (Collinsville, Va.) and freshman Jose Rivera (Canovanas, Puerto Rico) did a good job of closing the game with two scoreless innings.

Meanwhile, the offense added two more home runs for a total of 34 this season. Sophomore Aaron Nanney (Gastonia, N.C.) hit a solo homer in the second inning — his third of the season — and freshman Billy Keegan (Seekonk, Mass.) hit a two-run shot off the left field foul pole in the seventh. Nanney was one of five Patriots hitters with a multi-hit game, going 3-for-4 with five runs and two RBI, scoring all five times he reached base.

“It’s timely hits and getting in the right situations with runners in scoring position,” said Nanney of the offense’s current mindset. “You have to have big hits and timely hits and it’s paid off… You get runs on the board early, put pressure (on the other team) to score and get to their bullpen early.”

Sophomore leadoff hitter Rashad Stewart (Dinwiddie, Va.) also had a three-hit game, notching his first triple of the season in the eighth inning and raising his batting average to .408. Sophomore Ryan Coale (Lexington, Va.) was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and four runs scored.

PHCC had seven extra base hits of the 18 in the game. Nanney said the offense has done a better job over the last few weeks of making consistent hard contact and barreling up a variety of pitches.

The Patriots took a 3-1 lead after the first inning by taking advantage of four walks. They then broke the game open in with a six-run, sixth inning which featured five singles.

PHCC returns home Apr. 23-24 against Region X, Division II co-leading Brunswick Community College.

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