NSA boys fall in second round

Published 11:11 pm Friday, May 11, 2012

Jake Grady takes a swing against a Cape Henry Collegiate pitcher during the second round of the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools tournament on Thursday. The Saints lost the game 11-1.

By Titus Mohler

Correspondent

After a strong come-from-behind victory in round one on Tuesday, NSA fell to talented Cape Henry Collegiate 11-1 in Thursday’s TCIS tournament semi-final.

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“It’s a good team,” Saints head coach David Mitchell said. “The team we played today, they were the better team. They were first in the state; they were undefeated in the conference.”

Senior Zach Edwards had two wins during the regular season and started at pitcher on Thursday. He did well early, but allowed a three-run homer in the second inning and another home run in the third.

After two more runs in the third gave Cape Henry a 6-1 lead, Mitchell started bringing in some other pitchers. Sophomore Jeremy Cobb took over for the remainder of the third inning and ended it with a strikeout.

Sophomore Reece Walton pitched the fourth, and freshman Cam Sutton pitched the fifth inning, which was the last.

“They had a couple home runs that pushed them out in front, and then after that we put some younger guys in that we’re counting on next year to help us out, just to try to get them some experience,” Mitchell said. “We were happy with what we saw from those guys.”

Jacob Laine was the only Saint to score. He was advanced to home after a balk.

The Saints reached the semifinal after a 13-5 win over Bishop Sullivan on Tuesday that featured a thrilling comeback.

“(We) fell behind 4-1, and our kids didn’t quit. They battled, and we came back and scored nine runs in the fifth inning,” Mitchell said. “Kind of strung some base hits together, had some good base-running, stole some bags, and took advantage of some errors. (We) put together a real solid inning.”

Going forward with the philosophy that they could not afford to save their best pitching for later in the tournament, Taylor Edens (6-3) lead the Saints in round one.

“He threw seven innings, about 97 pitches,” Mitchell said. “He pitched a whale of a game.”

Mitchell said he and his coaching staff were very impressed with the team, particularly with the way they finished the regular season.

“The last two weeks, we played really well,” he said. “We won six of our last seven games, so we were hot at the right time, we thought.”

The team was quite young, but players posted improvements over last season.

“We knew we’d be starting six to seven underclassmen each time out. We had a freshman behind the plate, five or six sophomores starting at different times, and one junior starting,” Mitchell said. “To be ranked eighth and ninth in the state with this young of a group — we were very pleased. I believe we were three or four wins better than we were last year. (We) advanced further in the conference tournament. So, a lot of positives, a lot of things to build on and carry with us.”

And the season may not be over just yet. The Saints will find out on Sunday if they qualify for the state tournament.