Baseball NEWS

Patriots walk off winners vs. Brunswick C.C.

April 24, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The final innings of Patrick Henry Community College’s (PHCC) doubleheader against visiting Brunswick Community College on Saturday (Apr. 23) proved wild.

The Patriots needed a walk and home run to earn a pair of walk-off victories — 12-11 and 4-3 — against the Region X leading Dolphins at Hooker Field. It was the 11th straight Region X victory for PHCC and the fourth straight region series win as the regular season draws to a close in a few weeks.

The teams exchanged runs in the final inning of both games but it was PHCC that used the final at bat to its advantage. After giving away a three-run lead in Game 1, the Patriots used five straight walks to steal back the victory before sophomore Aaron Nanney (Gastonia, N.C.) hit his fifth homer of the season in leading the Patriots to the doubleheader sweep.

The teams conclude their three-game series today (Apr. 24) as PHCC will try to sweep its fourth consecutive weekend series.

“Every team is going to handle it differently,” said Patriots coach Frank Jagoda on winning both games in walk off fashion. “Tomorrow is a brand new day and the other dugout is going to come ready to go. They’re not going to fold or give in, that’s a very good team. The thing for us is we can’t get too high about it and need to be ready to play another game (today).”

Jagoda said his team had several at bats during the two games that eventually played important roles in the final outcome. Sophomore Rashad Stewart (Dinwiddie, Va.) drew a 10-pitch walk out of an 0-2 count in the second inning of Game 1 which eventually led to three runs of a six-run inning. But it was five straight walks drawn in the ninth inning that set up an even better finish in Game 2.

After letting an 8-5 lead evaporate in the final inning of Game 1, an error with two outs gave the Patriots (36-14) a chance to pull off some late-inning magic. Five consecutive walks — four on full counts — allowed PHCC to literally walk off with the win. Jagoda said his batters did a great job of battling every pitch and staying disciplined with their approach.

“In that ninth inning we put together some quality at bats and laid off some tough pitches,” Jagoda said. “We had multiple foul balls with two strikes to continue an at bat to work a walk. Billy Keegan (Seekonk, Mass.) came in as a pinch hitter and battled back from a 1-2 count and drew a walk. Roger Sosa (Morovis, Puerto Rico) then fouled off multiple strikes to draw the walk-off walk and lot of guys came together in that last inning and they didn’t give in.”

Errors in Game 1 kept Brunswick in the game as it was able to get to Patriots No. 1 weekend starter, sophomore Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va.), over the middle innings. A leadoff hit batter and walk scored a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings. A pair of triples sandwiched with a single to start the sixth inning helped plate three runs to make it a 7-5 game. Maynard finished with seven strikeouts and two walks over five-plus innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.

Sophomore reliever Kemper Terry (Collinsville, Va.) worked out of the sixth-inning jam and threw scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. A hit and walk, along with an error chased Terry in the ninth before Robert Fitzwater (Suffolk, Va.) limited the damage after giving up a double and single that gave the Dolphins an 11-8 lead.

In Game 2, sophomore Yashuan Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico) locked in after allowing a two-run home run in the first inning. Santiago posted five straight scoreless innings until giving up the tying run in the seventh on a string of hits. He stranded the bases loaded in the third inning and then allowed just one hit over the next three innings. Santiago finished with six strikeouts and one walk over seven full innings.

The Patriot offense tied the game at 2 in the second inning with the help of four walks. It then took the lead in the fifth inning by manufacturing a run with a leadoff walk. Nanney took a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the seventh over the fence to send off a celebration at home plate.

“Aaron Nanney down in the hole with two strikes in a tough lefty on lefty matchup, was able to get a pitch up in the zone and he handled it.”

Despite giving away a pair of leads late, Jagoda said he was happy to see his team not give in and give up in adverse situations. He added that the team did a good job of situational hitting and taking advantage of free bases.

The Patriots conclude the regular season with two more weekend series, next weekend at New River and the following weekend at home against Southeastern.

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