NSA ends drought against Dolphins
Published 10:38 pm Friday, April 18, 2014
It took eight innings, but the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy baseball team did something on Thursday it has not been able to do since 2009 — beat Cape Henry Collegiate School.
After coming back from a three-run deficit, the Saints had the go-ahead run on second base in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. They just could not get him in, but the fourth time was the charm.
In the bottom of the eighth, NSA senior Ethan Stewart hit a ground ball between third base and shortstop, and as is often the case between two evenly matched teams, the contest was decided by which one made a big mistake first. The shortstop committed a throwing error, allowing senior Ben Wilson to score from second.
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“It was probably the most exciting game that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Wilson, now in his third year on varsity.
Saints head coach David Mitchell was pleased with what he called a good high school baseball game as his team pulled off the 4-3 victory over the visiting Dolphins.
They pitted acclaimed pitcher junior Wyatt Lam against NSA, and Mitchell said, “He was as good as advertised.”
“We were trailing 3-0 going into the fourth, and we were able to come back and scratch two runs and cut the lead (to) 3-2,” Mitchell said.
NSA tied things up in the bottom of the fifth, and shortly thereafter the Saints’ defense did its part to bring about the win.
“Cape Henry had the bases loaded with one out, and we were able to turn a double play that prevented them from scoring a go-ahead run,” Mitchell said.
Nansemond-Suffolk pitcher Greg Beale fielded a ground ball that was hit back to him and threw it to junior catcher Toby Buchanan, who tagged a runner out and then threw the hitter out at first.
“That was a huge turning point in the game for us,” Mitchell said.
The coach said senior Jeremy Cobb pitched three good innings, and Beale (6-2) took over in the fourth inning, earning the win while throwing seven strikeouts.
“Greg did a great job holding what we had and giving us a chance offensively, so both of those guys pitched very good games,” Mitchell said.
With the stalemate continuing to the bottom of the eighth, Wilson came up to bat.
“I was pretty nervous because it’s a huge game and everything, but we’ve been hitting all week,” Wilson said, with a focus on squaring up. It paid off as he singled, and then sophomore Sam Neal singled, moving Wilson to second.
After Stewart’s hit, Wilson was en route to third and did not see the throwing error.
“I knew something had happened because the crowd was going crazy and Coach was waving frantically for me to run home,” he said.
Upon Wilson’s arrival there, the Saints got their first win over Cape Henry since May 8, 2009, when they beat the Dolphins 6-5 in the conference tournament championship game.
“It’s big for our senior class,” Mitchell said of Thursday’s win.
Wilson finished the day 1-for-2 in four plate appearances, but his coach credited him for two very important sacrifice bunts.
“Ben Wilson had an outstanding day for us,” Mitchell said. He also complimented Stewart and noted that Buchanan went 2-for-4, with a double.
Next, NSA (9-4, 4-1) hosts the No. 1 team in the conference, Norfolk Academy (14-3, 5-0), on Tuesday.