Buckingham Breaks Out The Big Sticks At PE
Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012
FARMVILLE – It seems that the Buckingham County High School baseball team is always glad to see the calendar flip from March to April. Offensively, at least.
This year is proving to be no exception, as the Knights, who have historically gotten off to slow offensive starts, welcomed April with an 11-0 rout of Prince Edward in six innings on Monday afternoon at the PECHS baseball diamond.
Monday's victory for the Knights avenges a loss to the Eagles on the opening day of the season.
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“It comes down to confidence at the plate,” said BCHS head coach Mike Jones. “That's something we've been struggling with. Though today wasn't a district game, and there isn't as much riding on it, these types of games can make you or break you, so for us it was big.”
Buckingham (2-4, 1-2 JRD) suffered losses to JRD favorites Amelia and Randolph-Henry, so any kind of positive momentum was welcome news.
“We felt we had to get a couple of runs early on to establish things, and play solid defense, and I felt that we were able to do that today.”
Buckingham scored two runs in the first and another four in the second to jump out to a 6-0 lead. Prince Edward didn't seem to be overpowered by pitcher Dylan Davis, who tossed a complete game shutout, but the BCHS thrower was able to avoid trouble until the bottom of the sixth inning, when he loaded the bases before getting out of the jam.
“We made contact, but we really have to work on getting the ball down,” said PE head coach Michael Weaver. “Buckingham came to play today, and I think we may have been looking toward our two district games this week a little too much. Our district games are much more important, but you always want to have a good outing.”
“Vance [Lee] threw good pitches for us. He threw strikes. We didn't back him up defensively.”
Darrell Shumaker and Chay Fitts, two of Prince Edward's three starters for district games, tossed the middle and late innings.
“You don't want to have to go to them,” said Weaver, “but we were sure to limit their pitches. Really, they threw for what would amount to a short bullpen session. I thought Darrell, with his offspeed stuff, did a really good job of shutting them down in the middle innings.”
The top of Buckingham's lineup provided the lion's share of the Knights' offense. Davis, who was Buckingham's leadoff hitter was 3-4 with three runs scored. No. 2 hitter Cam Johnson was 4-4 with two doubles and four runs scored, while Jesse Hickman was also a perfect 4-4 on the afternoon with a triple, two doubles and a run scored. Cody Herndon, was 1-4, but his lone hit was a two-run home run in the top of the sixth that put BCHS over the ten-run margin needed to win by the slaughter rule.
“We go as those guys go,” said Jones. “I was happy to see them put the bat on the ball today. I anticipated things to go differently. Prince Edward is certainly capable of scoring a bunch of runs, but we made it a point to focus on solid baseball defensively, and we made several plays that kept them from getting any momentum.”
Prince Edward put runners on base, but couldn't string anything together until the bottom of the sixth. The Eagles' best shot at a big inning came in the bottom of the sixth. Brian Lee and Chay Fitts reached base on solid singles, and after a walk loaded things up, freshman Darrell Shumaker nearly cleared the bases with a long, towering shot pulled down the left field line, just foul.
Davis didn't make the same mistake again, and got Shumaker to pop up to the shortstop for the second out of the inning, and then ended the game when Ferrance Brown lined out to left field.
“We have two district games remaining this week, and we've got to get the ball on the ground, or we'll be in the same situation that we found ourselves in today,” said Weaver, whose team was scheduled to host Brunswick on Tuesday, before traveling to Greensville on Thursday. “Those are two very important games for us since we don't have a district tournament this year, so we'll really have to work on not hitting pop ups.”
Buckingham was scheduled to host Central on Tuesday and travel to Cumberland on Thursday in pivotal James River District contests.
“It's a very strong league this year, and we have no room for error if we want to be in a good position at the end of the season,” said Jones. “Those are big games for us, and we'll stress the same things that we stressed for this game. We'll need a solid effort defensively, and a good start at the plate.”