Baseball NEWS

Patriots take two against Catawba Valley

April 2, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — From its opening pitch to its opening at bat, the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) baseball team set the tone early Saturday (Apr. 2) against Region X rival Catawba Valley Community College.

The Patriots opened up their three-game weekend series with the Red Hawks with wins of 5-0 and 14-4 to earn a doubleheader sweep at Hooker Field. PHCC used a leadoff home run by sophomore Rashad Stewart (Dinwiddie, Va.) and another fine pitching performance from No. 1 starter Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va.) to win the opener before scoring in every inning in taking Game 2 in a shortened five innings.

It was a positive turnaround for the Patriots (22-13, 3-2) after being swept in three games last weekend against Wake Tech to open their Region X schedule. First-year coach Frank Jagoda said the difference Saturday was better defense and not playing from behind early.

“Offensively we were able to string together some at bats with two-out hits. We had that crooked number and big inning and that’s what our team is tailored around, having those big innings and limiting mistakes,” Jagoda said.

Maynard delivered another quality start, something that has become a staple to open a weekend series. The UNC-Greensboro bound sophomore threw a complete-game, nine innings, allowing one hit while striking out seven and walking none over 99 pitches — 70 of which were strikes. He lowered his ERA to 2.62 and now has 80 strikeouts to just five walks over 55 innings of work.

No. 2 starter, sophomore Yashuan Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico), earned the Game 2 win with seven strikeouts and two walks while scattering three hits. He was able to buckle down over the final two innings after allowing a two-run home run

Jagoda said both pitchers did a good job of holding key innings, allowing the offense to put up big numbers to lighten the stress on the starters.

Stewart went 3-for-4 in Game 1 with a pair of doubles and the home run, scoring twice and driving in a pair. Sophomore Jonah McReynolds (Martinsville, Va.), also provided a multi-hit game in the opener as did freshman Andrew Lancaster (Danville, Va.). Sophomores Jose Castro (Richmond, Va.) and Brandon Nania (Murrysville, Va.) had multi-hit games in Game 2, as Nania walked twice to reach base in all four plate appearances, scoring twice and driving in two.

Sophomore Ryan Coale (Lexington, Va.) hit a three-run home run in Game 2 as part of a six-run, second inning. Coale finished with five RBI while Aaron Nanney (Gastonia, N.C.) scored three runs in the No. 2 spot of the lineup, reaching base ahead of the cleanup hitter.

“It set the standard instead of falling behind,” Coale said of scoring early in both games. “It’s like a sigh of relief and it let’s us go out and play our game. We needed this and after last weekend we didn’t need to say much because everyone knew what we needed to do.”

The Patriots combined for 18 hits over the two games. Jagoda said the team did a good job of not doing too much offensively and worked counts in order to drive pitches with runners on base, despite leaving nine runners on in each game. PHCC finished with three doubles and two home runs for five extra-base hits.

The series concludes at noon Sunday (Apr. 3) with one nine-inning game.

“It’s an important series and I’m not going to hide that fact,” Jagoda said. “Catawba is the class of the region and we have the utmost respect for the people in that dugout. We know that tomorrow is another day and we have to be geared up and ready to play nine innings of baseball.”

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