Warriors top KFHS for baseball title
Published 9:20 pm Saturday, May 31, 2014
No. 1 Nansemond River High School did on Friday what it has done against each of its conference baseball opponents this season. It executed a decisive win, this time to become the Ironclad Conference tournament champions.
The Warriors, who hosted the tourney, jumped out to a 6-0 lead over No. 2 King’s Fork High School after two innings. They added three more in the fourth, and then senior Trevor Riggs drove in sophomore Josh Bush in the fifth to end the game via the mercy rule with a 10-0 score.
“It’s neat,” Nansemond River head coach Mark Stuffel said of being the first conference tournament winners. He added that throughout conference play in the last two months, his team “played really good baseball.”
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Because the Warriors were much stronger than their conference competition, there were four games during the regular season where Nansemond River starters saw very limited play.
Stuffel estimated his team only gave up 11 runs in all 12 games against conference opponents.
He was happy with his team’s all-around performance on Friday.
Of sophomore Matt Holt, he said, “He threw the ball really well.”
The coach noted Holt (4-0) pitched all five innings, producing five strikeouts and only allowing two hits.
“Offensively, we laid down some really nice bunts tonight that King’s Fork made some mistakes on, and we capitalized on them,” Stuffel said.
Of the Warriors’ nine hits, Riggs had two, along with two runs batted in, while senior Mike Parmentier also had two hits.
“We knew going into the game that Nansemond River has a very talented team,” Bulldogs head coach Pat Stafford said. “They’re a tough team to compete with. If you make little mistakes against them, they’ll take advantage of it.”
He said King’s Fork’s goal was to carry over its momentum from an 11-1 victory over Lakeland High School on Wednesday. But he suspected first-time jitters playing at this level were a factor for his players, while the biggest issues were missed chances and walks.
“(Nansemond River) gave us opportunities to get outs, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” Stafford said.
He also estimated King’s Fork gave up four lead-off walks, helping the Warriors offensively.
Meanwhile, for the Bulldogs, producing offense against their opponent was quite difficult.
Referring to Nansemond River, Stafford said, “They do a very good job defensively, so it’s hard to come by base hits with them.”
Despite the Bulldogs’ struggles, Stuffel praised their development.
“Pat’s done a great job with them,” he said. “They’re playing good baseball, and I really hope they make a good run here.”
King’s Fork (13-9) visits Churchland High School on Monday in the first round of the regional tournament. The teams played earlier this season, with the Bulldogs winning 2-0.
“I think it’s going to be a good game on Monday,” Stafford said. “It’s going to be a dogfight.”
On the same day, Nansemond River (20-2) will host Woodrow Wilson High School.