Sophomore shortstop Kieton Rivers of Nansemond River High School swings against host Western Branch High School during the Warriors’ 2-1 loss on Friday.
Sophomore shortstop Kieton Rivers of Nansemond River High School swings against host Western Branch High School during the Warriors’ 2-1 loss on Friday.

Warriors lose tight game

Published 10:54pm Friday, May 3, 2013

Nansemond River High School’s baseball team had nothing to be ashamed of after its road game against Western Branch High School concluded on Friday. The Warriors played well, but fell short, 2-1, in a tight game with a district rival.

“We out-hit them, we played good defense, Robert (Fitzwater) threw a lot of strikes,” Nansemond River head coach Mark Stuffel said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way tonight.”

The Bruins scored first in the second inning to take an early lead and were prevented from scoring until the run in the bottom of the seventh that ended the contest. It was their second hit of the game versus the Warriors’ six hits.

Early in the game, a controversial call favoring Western Branch was cited as a momentum-changer. The Warriors were at bat with one out and a runner on third when the batter hit the ball off his foot, causing it to go down the third base line. It appeared by many to be a foul ball, but it was ruled fair, allowing the third baseman to tag the runner at out at third and throw the batter out at first to suddenly end the inning.

Stuffel was not discouraged after the game, saying, “I just feel like if we continue to hit the way we hit and continue to throw strikes and play good defense, we’re going to win some games. We did a lot of good stuff in that game, we just didn’t win.”

In addition to Fitzwater’s pitching, Stuffel praised the defensive play of junior second baseman Chase Williams.

“He probably (fielded) seven or eight ground balls tonight,” he said.

Senior Tucker Rhoads went 2-for-3 from the plate, and seniors Matt Boone, Tyler Jordan, Brandon Savage and sophomore Robert Fitzwater each contributed a hit.

With two games remaining in the regular season, Stuffel said, “Pretty much, we win one more, we’re in the tournament.”

Nansemond River (10-7, 8-7) will play at home on Tuesday against Oscar Smith High School and host Great Bridge High School on Friday for the regular season finale.

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