Saints fall to top-ranked NA

Published 8:53 pm Saturday, May 10, 2014

Down but not done: Nansemond-Suffolk Academy head coach David Mitchell talks to his team following Friday's conference tourney title game loss. The Saints play in the state playoffs on Tuesday. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

Down but not done: Nansemond-Suffolk Academy head coach David Mitchell talks to his team following Friday’s conference tourney title game loss. The Saints play in the state playoffs on Tuesday. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy baseball team enjoyed a strong showing in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools tournament, but Friday’s championship game was not the conclusion it was looking for.

The No. 2 Saints fell behind early against No. 1 Norfolk Academy, and the Bulldogs were able to put the game away with a six-run fifth inning, making for an 11-1 final score at Old Dominion University’s Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.

“They beat us in all facets of the game tonight,” NSA head coach David Mitchell said.

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He acknowledged the impact of Bulldogs sophomore pitcher Michael Parsons, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

“Their pitcher did an outstanding job throwing strikes,” Mitchell said. “We struggled making adjustments offensively at the plate, and he worked ahead. We were basically getting ourselves in 0-2, 1-2 counts,” and then trying to fight back.

When the Saints pitchers were on the mound, they struggled at times, allowing walks. Additionally, NSA allowed 13 hits, while producing only two.

“Still proud of our guys to make it to the championship and have the year that we did, 7-2 in the conference, second place in the regular season,” Mitchell said. He also noted their 14-6 overall record and possible No. 3 seed in the state playoffs still to come.

Standout Saints from Friday’s contest included sophomore pitcher Hunter Foster. Though he got the loss after a rough fifth inning, he had thrown well in relief, starting in the second inning, when his team was down 5-0.

“He came in and stopped the game and gave us a chance to kind of get back into it,” Mitchell said. “He threw two scoreless innings in the third and the fourth and gave us a shot.”

A fellow sophomore helped provide NSA’s only run in the fourth inning.

“Sam Neal had an RBI hit there to drive in Greg Beale,” Mitchell said. “Sam had a good tournament. He had a good game (Thursday) night as well.”

On Thursday, the Saints defeated No. 3 Norfolk Christian High School 17-11 at ODU in a marathon of a contest.

“It was a three-hour game,” Mitchell said. “That was one of the longest games that I can think of in 14 years of high school (coaching).”

Both starting pitchers struggled, but Nansemond-Suffolk senior ace Greg Beale persevered and got his ninth win of the season.

Offensively, Beale, Neal and senior Will Breedlove had three hits and three runs batted in apiece. Senior Jake Grady had one hit, a double, and four RBIs.

The Saints will learn on Sunday who and where they play Tuesday in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state quarterfinals.