Cavaliers rout NR with 7-run inning

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, March 19, 2009

A seven-run rally in the sixth inning sent Lakeland to a 10-2 rout over city rival Nansemond River Thursday evening at NR.

Jeremy Hagwood pitched a four-hit complete game for the Cavaliers (1-1). The Warriors drop to 0-2 on the young season.

The first impression of Thursday’s contest turned out to be highly misleading.

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Freshman Ryan O’Hara started on the mound for the Warriors and held Lakeland in the top of the first. The Warrior bats got going against Hagwood with Brandon Lowe and Erickson Keeton knocking doubles. Both Lowe and Keeton came around to score, giving NR a 2-0 lead after an inning.

Through an inning, the Warriors, traditionally dominant over the years in their baseball series against the Cavaliers, seemed in command again.

Lakeland didn’t manage a hit against O’Hara until the fourth inning, but when it rained it poured for the Cavaliers on the wet and cold evening.

Lakeland took advantage of some help as O’Hara hit Jarrett Hagwood with a pitch, then walked James Gatling to start the fourth inning. Both Cavaliers came around to score despite only one hit in the frame.

Michael Espinosa singled to start Lakeland’s fifth inning. A double by Gatling with two outs moved Espinosa around to third. Espinosa scored and Lakeland took the lead on a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hagwood was blanking Nansemond River after its early power. Shortstop Justin Hike turned a double play to end the NR third and Hagwood got two of his five strikeouts in the NR fifth.

With the lead for the first time, Lakeland opened the rout in the sixth. Starting with seventh-place hitter Kevin Lowther, seven straight Lakeland hitters reached base and came around to score.

Singles by David Waterfield and Nate Meeks moved Lowther around and in, then a double by Hike made it 5-2 Lakeland.

Hike’s double was the end of O’Hara’s night on the mound. Another freshman, Zack Vann, took over for the Warriors, but he couldn’t slow Lakeland’s rally. The Cavaliers kept rolling until a second hit by Waterfield in the inning drove in Jarrett Hagwood for a 10-2 score.

“This win, it’s my first win as a varsity coach, it really means a lot,” said Lakeland head coach Bruce Hagwood, father of battery-mates Jeremy and Jarrett.

“The guys just believe in themselves and trust each other. Nansemond River’s a great team and we always respect them,” said coach Hagwood.

“Small ball” usually isn’t known for seven-run innings, but that’s what Hagwood credited for the outburst.

“We work hard on situational hitting and playing small ball. Our kids believe in the system and sometimes small ball can produce a lot of runs.”