Warriors can’t complete trifecta
Published 9:51 pm Friday, April 17, 2015
A victory over visiting Western Branch High School on Thursday would have meant the 2015 Nansemond River High School baseball team had beaten the defending VHSL Group 6A state champion along with the defending 5A and 4A title holders.
But the Bruins did what was necessary to secure a 6-3 victory and deny the Warriors a 3-0 record this year against the only teams they lost to last season — the current 4A, 5A and 6A state champs.
Nansemond River coach Mark Stuffel noted Thursday’s game was not about errors.
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“I guess from a coaching perspective, we didn’t really do anything wrong,” he said, but added, “We didn’t make the plays to win the game.”
“We just took the safe route instead of taking the aggressive route,” Stuffel said, specifically noting some defensive situations.
In one instance, a Nansemond River player, who Stuffel said is phenomenal, advanced to field a fly ball. But rather than taking two more hard steps to give himself a chance to catch the ball, he took a safer route, letting the ball bounce before quickly collecting it.
The batter ended up getting a triple, and the runner who was on first base scored.
In another instance, a pop-up behind home plate went uncaught.
The Warriors held a 2-0 lead after the first inning. The Bruins tied it up in the second and took the lead in the fourth, extending it to 4-2 in the fifth before NR responded with a run. Western Branch added two more in the seventh inning.
Stuffel cited junior Matt Holt and senior Kieton Rivers as Nansemond River standouts for the game.
Of Holt, he said, “He was solid on the mound, but he was really good at the plate.”
He went 2-for-4 with a run batted in and pitched the first four and one-third innings before junior Michael Blanchard relieved him.
Rivers hit a solo home run, his first homer of the season.
Earlier this season, the Warriors defeated defending 5A state champion Hickory High School 6-3 and defending 4A state champion Hanover High School 5-4. Hanover also won the 2013 Virginia High School League Group AAA state title.
Nansemond River (6-4, 0-1) visited Deep Creek High School on Friday evening.