Defense: Junior pitcher Robert Fitzwater finishes out the game for host Nansemond River High School during Friday’s 7-2 conference win over Lakeland High School. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)
Defense: Junior pitcher Robert Fitzwater finishes out the game for host Nansemond River High School during Friday’s 7-2 conference win over Lakeland High School. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

Warriors ride defense, key hits

Published 12:36am Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lakeland High School’s baseball team was the first on the board, but host Nansemond River High School did not wait long to respond and held the Cavaliers in check for most of the night to emerge with a 7-2 inaugural conference win.

“We played very solid defense, and we hit the ball decent,” Warriors head coach Mark Stuffel said.

The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead out of the first inning, but Nansemond River scored three runs in the second. After the game was tied, Warriors senior Shane McCaw made the most of his first opportunity to face his old team by hitting a two-run home run.

Senior Trevor Riggs helped add to the lead in the third inning with a solo home run, his second homer of the young season.

“Overall, I feel like we hit pretty well, because we only left one runner on for the night,” Stuffel said.

Riggs went 2-for-3. He also had a double, a run batted in and two runs scored. McCaw finished 1-for-3, with two RBIs.

Stuffel praised the defensive performance of junior Kieton Rivers, who he said made several great plays at shortstop.

Nansemond River’s pitchers threw a lot of strikes, though Stuffel said he did not feel like they played their best game. Because it had been nearly a week since the Warriors’ last game, he said, efforts were made to give multiple players time on the mound.

Senior Mike Parmentier (2-0) earned the win, pitching three innings, giving up two hits and throwing three strikeouts. Sophomore Matt Holt pitched three innings, giving up two hits and throwing one strikeout, and junior Robert Fitzwater pitched one inning, giving up two more hits and hurling two strikeouts.

Lakeland head coach William Dean was unable to attend the game, so James Moore filled in for him as coach for the night. Despite the loss, Moore found reason to be encouraged.

“There’s a lot of positive, because that team is a very good team, and we pretty much stuck with them,” he said.

Stuffel said his team had to make an early adjustment to something it did not expect from Lakeland senior pitcher Ryan Stalnaker.

“Stalnaker threw harder than our guys anticipated,” Stuffel said. “The first inning, I think, maybe the kids were a little surprised.”

Stalnaker pitched the whole game, allowing five earned runs, but also throwing three strikeouts.

Lakeland also had some success hitting the ball, though, and Stuffel said he was impressed by Cavaliers senior Jefferson Knight, who went 3-for-3.

“He really swung the bat well tonight,” the Warriors’ coach said.

Stalnaker was effective offensively, going 2-for-3, and senior Austin Mills also went 2-for-3.

On Monday, Nansemond River (3-0, 1-0) hosts Oscar Smith High School, while Lakeland (0-5, 0-1) hosts King’s Fork High School.

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