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Patriots sweep into next round of Region X playoffs

May 13, 2015

By CHRIS PRIDE – Bulletin Sports Writer

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) freshman Anthony Zona didn’t necessarily have to pitch the game of his life Tuesday.

That’s not to say the right hander didn’t come close when looking to keep the Patriots’ season alive.Zona pitched seven innings, allowing three runs while delivering the kind of start head coach Lucas Jones was hoping for from his No. 3 weekend starter. His performance, backed by a 13-hit game by the offense, led to a 9-5 NJCAA Division II Region X tournament win over Brunswick Community College.The victory moved PHCC into today’s final elimination contest at 3 p.m. in a rematch with Pasco-Hernando State College (Fla.), which beat the Patriots 6-3 Monday. Jones said that loss in way helped his team regroup Tuesday and put together two dominating performances with its season on the line.“It saves arms and we feel like we have a good matchup with David (Fernandez), and he threw in the tournament last year, so he has the experience,” Jones said of the effect Zona’s start had on the rest of the pitching rotation. “(Hernandez) has thrown a lot of mid-week games and some weekend games for us and we know he can get it done for us. This also puts our bullpen in place and realigns our staff.”Zona was given a three-run lead after the first inning as the Patriots added to the seven first-inning runs they scored in the game played earlier in the day against Wake Tech. However, his first mistake of the day got Brunswick back in the game in the third as Chase Gehringer hit an 0-1 pitch over the right field fence for a two-run home run, making it a 3-2 game.From there, the freshman gave up an unearned run on a passed ball and five hits over the next four innings. He finished with one strikeout and one walk over 97 pitches. He also used an efficient defense behind him which turned a pair of double plays. Zona said it was his biggest start of the season, doing whatever he needed to give the team another game.“I definitely needed to go long tonight, especially with us facing elimination and needing a lot of pitching down the stretch. I knew I had to come out and throw well,” Zona said. “The big key for me was to keep my pitch count down, make my pitches and use the defense behind me.”Jones called Zona a “bulldog” and that his start was an example of the kind of fight he’s shown all season.Meanwhile, the offense continued to pour on the hits and runs, especially with two outs. Five of the 10 runs scored in the first game and six of the nine runs in the nightcap all came with two outs. Four straight hits in the first inning by Stibel Aleman-Saba, Dillon Crowder, Christian Hartley and Nic Faison contributed the two-out lightning.Daymon Totherow then added a two-out RBI triple — his first of two three-baggers — in the fifth and another in the seventh. All three of hits went for extra bases.“I think everybody’s ego on this team is too big for them to be the last out (of an inning),” Totherow said. “I honestly think that no one wants to be the third out and that provides just enough motivation.”Faison, Hartley and Aleman-Saba joined Totherow with multi-hit games.“We have a lot of different hitters in the lineup,” Jones said. “We have contact guys, power guys and some guys that can run, and it’s a pretty balanced lineup from top to bottom. When your No. 8 and 9 hitters are hitting near a .380 clip, it makes things dynamic and makes it tough to keep us off the scoreboard.”The Patriots did a good job of responding each time the Dolphins put runs on the board. PHCC scored twice in the third after the Gehringer homer as Jonah McReynolds provided a one-out RBI single to right. Faison, who doubled after a Hartley single started the inning, later scored on a wild pitch. Totherow’s triple answered Brunswick’s run in the fifth.A two-run home run in the ninth by Dillon Stewart scored the final runs of the game.“It’s important when you can answer with a couple of runs or even just one run. I think it shows you’re not going to give up,” Totherow said.Pasco-Hernanado, the No. 3 seed, lost 3-2 to No. 1 seed Catawba Valley in the 4 p.m. game Tuesday. The winner of today’s afternoon game will have a quick turnaround and face the Red Hawks at 7 p.m. A winner-take-all championship game is set for Thursday, if necessary.Patrick Henry 9, Brunswick 5BCC 002 010 002 — 5 13 3PHCC 302 110 20x — 9 13 0WP: Anthony Zona. LP: Patrick Corcoran.Top Hitters: PHCC — Daymon Totherow, 3-for-5, 2 triples, double, 2 RBIs; Stibel Aleman-Saba, 2-for-4, RBI; Christian Hartley, 2-for-3, RBI, run; Nic Faison, 2-for-4, double, RBI, 2 runs. BCC — Dillon Stewart, 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs; Chase Gehringer, 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs.Patrick Henry CC 10, Wake Tech 0 (5 inn.)The next three days for Patrick Henry Community College’s baseball team must be looked at as a marathon, not a sprint.The Patriots decided, however, to start with a sprint Tuesday afternoon against Wake Tech.PHCC used a seven-run first inning to down the Eagles 10-0 in five innings, advancing them to the second elimination game of the day at the Region X tournament held at Hooker Field.Needing to win five games in three days to earn a trip to the Division II junior college World Series, the first step of the journey was well executed, said Patriots coach Lucas Jones.Starter Jack Maynard was able to pitch his second consecutive five-inning game, earning the win in the opener Friday in the same fashion. He used the early runs to his benefit, throwing a little over 60 pitches after tossing 55 in the start before. He finished with five strikeouts, scattering five hits and walking none.“This game was the best case scenario obviously,” Jones said. “To finish in five innings it was almost an extended bullpen session again for (Maynard). It’s now a matter of moving on to the next game and not worrying about when he might be able to pitch the next game; that’s still three games off, realistically.”The shortened outing still helped the team’s cause as he could be available for even a few innings if the situation arises later on in the tournament.“(Brunswick) took advantage of some of our mistakes and we’re looking to play better,” Jones said of the last meeting. “I think if we play better it will be a tight game in the back third.”Back-to-back walks to start the first inning opened up an early scoring opportunity for the Patriots. Rashad Stewart’s bunt single loaded the bases before Dillon Crowder drew a four-pitch walk, scoring Nic Keister with the game’s first run. Christian Hartley followed with a two-run single to right field while an error two batters later proved costly.Following a strikeout of Jonah McReynolds, Keister turned the lineup over in a big way by delivering a bases-clearing double to center field and a 7-0 lead.“I think the big at bat in the first inning was Keister’s triple. To bump the lead from four to seven is huge and really any run you can get at this point is great,” Jones said. “But four doesn’t feel as comfortable as seven, eight, nine or 10.”Kelvin Marte scored on a wild pitch in the third inning, Crowder scored on a Nic Faison double in the fourth and Daymon Totherow ended the game early after scoring on a double to the fence in right by Stibel Aleman Saba.PHCC finished with 10 hits.Maynard stranded two runners in the third with a groundout to third. He then escaped a second-and-third situation with one out by inducing a pair of ground balls, including one to himself.Patrick Henry 10, Wake Tech 0WTCC 000 00 — 0 5 1PHCC 701 11 — 10 10 0WP: Jack Maynard. LP: Zack Burke.Top Hitters: PHCC — Nic Keister, triple, 2 walks, 3 RBIs, run; Nic Faison, 2-for-3, double, RBI, run; Christian Hartley, 2 RBIs, run. WTCC — Austin Warren, 2-for-3.

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