Nasemond River squad an odd mix

Published 6:59 pm Friday, June 11, 2010

With a varied group of ballplayers ranging from high school to guys a year or two out of college, Nansemond River played its debut game in the Tidewater Summer League Thursday night against Kellam at Nansemond River High School.

The Warriors were scheduled to have two games in the books by Thursday, but games Saturday and Tuesday had to be rescheduled.

NR was set to face Western Branch Saturday and Kellam on Tuesday. Most of the players on the Western Branch and Kellam summer league teams were busy with more important business as Western Branch is still progressing through the Group AAA state tournament and Kellam had been in the postseason, too.

Kellam showed its state tourney ability all the way around Thursday evening in beating Nansemond River 10-0.

The current Warrior varsity team saw most of the action for the first four innings. Former Warriors, as well as a few other, mostly older, recruits, saw playing time in the later innings. Kellam broke the game open with six runs in the top of the seventh.

Will Hirsch, a 2006 NR alum and Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year in high school baseball in his senior year, held Kellam scoreless for 2.2 innings on the mound. Hirsch played collegiately at Georgia Tech for one year and at Virginia Commonwealth for two years.

The mix and match included power-hitting first baseman Johnny Pitt, a Nansemond River alum who’s now playing for Louisburg College, four players from Norfolk State, Josh Henderson, who was a standout player for First Baptist Christian School this spring, and Lakeland junior David Waterfield.

Dave Ewell, Nansemond River’s summer league head coach, said the college guys are generally looking to stay sharp and stay in shape.

The players now past their college days, such as Hirsch and Lakeland alum Robert Hedrick, who played for four years at Div. II California University (Pa.), “just want to be out here on the field. They’re just staying fit and having a good time,” Ewell said.

It didn’t show up on the scoreboard at all Thursday evening, but Ewell thinks having veterans, with a wide range of experience on the diamond, provides an interesting opportunity for the high schoolers over the next couple months.

The Tidewater Summer League uses wood bats, so that’s another big lesson to learn. The competition, including facing collegiate pitchers, will help the young players most of all.

“This will definitely help, for players going back into district play next year, it’s a big plus. We had several kids who, at least age-wise, probably should’ve been JV this past year,” Ewell said.

“This league’s an opportunity to get better and really see the velocity (from pitchers) they need to see game-in and game-out,” Ewell said.

Nansemond River’s next game is another chance against Kellam, at Kellam, on Saturday at 2 p.m.