Knights reign supreme on diamond
Published 6:41 pm Saturday, May 16, 2015
The Suffolk Christian Academy baseball team removed all the drama from its rivalry with Summit Christian Academy in Friday’s Hampton Roads Athletic Conference tournament championship game at Christopher Newport University.
The Knights’ strong play in every aspect of the game brought the mercy rule into effect in a stunning 11-1 rout of the Eagles, making it three years straight the Knights have won their conference tournament.
Suffolk coach Tommy Moose carries high expectations for his team, but the Knights’ performance even took him off guard.
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“I was really surprised how well the guys played in the championship game,” he said. “We played very well as a team.”
He had good reason to expect a tighter ballgame — two regular season games against Summit seemed to set the stage for it.
On May 5, the Eagles hosted Suffolk, and because the field they used was only available for two hours, the game concluded in the sixth inning. It was tied 4-4.
When hosting Summit on April 17, the Knights needed a walk-off home run to secure a 5-4 victory.
But on Friday, Suffolk left little opportunity for the Eagles to keep things so close.
“We didn’t have any errors, we had 10 hits spread across the lineup, and good pitching, solid defense,” Moose said.
He noted Summit “played a pretty solid defensive game, too,” committing only one error, but the Knights were able to do more against the Eagles’ best pitcher than in the past.
In the May 5 game, Summit sophomore pitcher Micah Marshal had 11 strikeouts.
“We only struck out four times yesterday against the same guy,” Moose said on Saturday morning.
Suffolk junior Shawn Moose went 2-for-3 with a triple, a home run and two runs batted in, sophomore Nick DeHoust went 2-for-2 and junior Michael Cornette went 2-for-3.
“To see in the last couple games the whole lineup come together to put together a win versus leaning on one or two players was very pleasing,” coach Moose said.
Summit also gave up seven walks and hit two batters.
For the Knights, Cornette (4-2) pitched all six innings, throwing eight strikeouts, scattering six walks and giving up only four hits and one run.
Pitching in relief, he also picked up the win on the mound in the tournament semifinals, where Suffolk came back from an early 6-0 deficit against the Beach Breakers to win 11-8.
Cornette was named the HRAC tournament MVP.
Last year, the conference tournament championship went to nine innings before Knights senior Jeremy Blasiole’s two-run double gave his team an 8-6 victory over Summit.
On Saturday, his younger brother and former teammate, sophomore Joel Blasiole, said, “Last year, was pretty exciting. This (year’s) win was probably better for our hearts.”
The younger Blasiole is an all-conference first team selection in his second year on the team, and he expressed great confidence prior to Friday’s game that Suffolk would win.
Explaining why on Saturday, he said it was because “we had been putting in work all season.”
Sharing what it meant to lead the Knights to the title in his first year coaching them, Tommy Moose said, “It meant a lot to see the guys’ hard work pay off. They bought into (my) philosophy early in the year,” and he added, “It all kind of came together in the last game.”
Suffolk finished the season with an overall record of 13-4-1, going 7-0-1 within the conference during the regular season.