S.C. trip treats Warriors well

Published 11:52 pm Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nansemond River’s Kyle Moore hit one of five Warrior home runs during their three games in at the Hanahan Invitational Tournament in Charleston, S.C. Monday-Wednesday. The Warriors (9-4) went 2-1, beating Daniel (S.C.) and Kirtland (Oh.), in the tournament.

Some time on the beach, taking in a ball game on a pleasant spring day, catching a matinee movie — all of that makes for a pretty good spring break.

Nansemond River’s baseball squad got all of that in plus three games of quality work on the field earlier this week at the Hanahan Invitational Tournament in Charleston, S.C.

The Warriors had an important game to catch Sunday, one day before taking the field themselves.

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The schedules happened to work out perfectly as Virginia Military Institute, with senior catcher and former Warrior Justin Topping, was finishing a Big South Conference series at Charleston Southern on Sunday. So the Warriors got to catch one of their own in a Keydet uniform.

“Then Monday we got them up, had a practice, had a little break, then had our first game,” said Nansemond River head coach Mark Stuffel.

Without classes in the way, the Warriors maximized the field time on the trip, practicing early on each day before their first two games.

The Warriors opened against South Carolina’s Daniel High. Zach Rice started on the mound and kept a no-hitter going until the fifth inning.

Josh Howard, Hayden Champigny and Kyle Moore hit homers and the Warriors cruised to a 12-1 win.

Another South Carolina school, Wando, blanked the Warriors 10-0 on Tuesday. The final score didn’t show the Warriors were actually still playing well, Stuffel said.

“It was actually a good game,” Stuffel said.

“We kept hitting the ball hard. It was just right at someone each time. (Wando) did have a very good pitcher, but that’s great for our team to see,” he said.

The team went to a movie together between practice and Tuesday night’s game. Instead of practicing, Stuffel surprised his squad Wednesday morning as everyone hit the beach prior to returning to the diamond and going up against Kirkland, Ohio.

“The kids really enjoyed it and a lot of the parents were able to come with us, they enjoyed it, too. Charleston, we stayed in the Mount Pleasant area, it was all very nice,” Stuffel said.

The Warriors finished with a 14-4 win and two more homers, by Howard and Zach Vann. Tucker Rhoads, in his first time pitching at the varsity level, pitched two innings and got the win.

“The only bad thing with the trip was sand fleas. They were horrible. Everyone is covered in bites,” Stuffel said.

Hopefully for the Warriors’ sake, the bites aren’t bad enough to take anyone out of action as Southeastern District play picks right back up starting Tuesday.

Nansemond River (9-4, 7-3) is in the mix for one of the four district tourney spots. The Warriors go to Western Branch Tuesday. The Bruins will be trying to avenge a 10-8 loss at Nansemond River from the first week of the season.