Baseball NEWS

Patriots sweep way to 9-1 homestand

March 12, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) baseball team continued its offensive breakout Saturday, capping a 10-game homestand at Hooker Field on an eight-game win streak.

The Patriots (14-9) earned their first four-game sweep of the season by topping Jamestown Community College (N.Y.) 16-3, 14-3 in the series’ doubleheader finale. PHCC scored 29 runs in just 10 innings as it ended the second game in 4 1/2 after putting up its largest single-inning run total of the season with a 10-spot in the second inning.

In all, the blue and gold scored 64 runs and collected 57 hits over the four games. Each Patriots batter with at least one plate appearance collected a hit during the series, even sophomore pitching transfer Kemper Terry (Collinsville, Va.), who drove in a run late in the first game on the first pitch of his first plate appearance as a Patriot.

“Anytime you come out and win ball games it feels good,” Patriots coach Frank Jagoda said. “This one was a little bit special to me because I played there and coached there and was teammates with (coach) Matt (Cummings). So it was good to get out and see some familiar faces but play good baseball at the same time.”

The Patriots scored in all but six of the 22 innings they batted in. They also scored four or more runs in seven innings. Four players had at least two RBI in Game 1.

Sophomore Rashad Stewart (Dinwiddie, Va.), Jerald Negron (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) and freshman Chris Douglass (Sydney, Australia) all had multi-hit games Saturday. Jamestown issued 17 walks over the final two games of the series and paid dearly for it, as each PHCC player that walked scored. Freshman Billy Keegan (Seekonk, Ma.) scored three runs and drove in a pair in Game 2.

In the 10-run inning in the second game, PHCC sent 16 batters to the plate and it batted around again an inning later in a four-run third.

“Even with the crooked numbers you still have to remain locked in and stay focused,” said freshman Andrew Lancaster (Danville, Va.), who walked twice and scored twice over five plate appearances.

While the Patriots’ offense put up eye-popping numbers, the pitching staff as a whole wasn’t too bad either.

Sophomore Anthony Zona (Mechanicsville, Va.) earned his first win of the season with a five-inning, one-run, five-hit performance. He struck out eight and walked none over 65 pitches. Freshman Parker Brann (Leasburg, N.C.) backed up Zona’s opening-game numbers with four innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts and two walks to win Game 2.

The pitching staff allowed seven runs, four earned, during the series.

“The few runs that we gave up all weekend was when our pitchers struggled to stay in the zone with walks or a hit-by-pitch,” Jagoda said. “The only time we got in trouble was when we gave up free bases. When we string together good at bats and play good defense, limit free bases, we have good opportunities to win ball games.”

Lancaster said the homestand helped the team play more relaxed baseball. The team produced numerous times in run-scoring situations, and were able to manufacture runs early which Lancaster added was a product of having better team chemistry.

PHCC heads to NCAA, Division III Ferrum College for a doubleheader series Tuesday (Mar. 15). It returns home for a four-game homestand against NJCAA, Division II Cuyahoga Community College Mar. 18-19 before closing out the month on the road with five games, which includes a stop in Raleigh, N.C. for a Region X series against Wake Tech. The Patriots are 3-7 on the road this season.

“We need to keep that feeling of playing together moving forward to help us on the road,” Lancaster said.

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