By tacking a run on the scoreboard in five of the six innings it went to the plate, Albemarle gave starting pitcher Scott Reid all he needed to work with. And while Monticello was able to rally late in the seventh to make things more respectable, the Patriots’ senior ace led the way in a 9-4 win at home.
“I think we made some plays defensively that when you have your pitcher throwing like he did tonight, it winds up carrying over to the offensive side,” said Albemarle coach Jimmy Bibb. “I thought we were ready to play and that’s a big thing, coming out ready. We’ve only played six games and we’ve got a bunch of three game weeks coming up so we need to be ready.”
With his defense coming up with plays the majority of the night, Reid gave up just one hit in his first five innings and just two in his first six. He finished with a complete game victory and five strikeouts.
“I was hitting my fastball really well and that was setting me up for some off-speed stuff,” Reid said. “The first time through they weren’t catching up to the fastball so you wind up sticking to that a lot, just working inside and outside. The second time through the lineup they started getting their timing so I started throwing more sliders and was able to get that over the plate. So then you keep working with that.”
The Patriots gave their starter a strong lead to work with early. In the first inning, an Andrew Porter single, a walk to Reid and a single from Jake Browning all in a row set up a sacrifice fly to Chase Miller. The Mustangs would work out of the jam after that, but were not so fortunate in the second inning.
Albemarle plated three runners in the second to go up 4-0 highlighted by an RBI triple from Alex Petroka, RBI single from Ryan Porter and RBI ground out from Reid.
“Petroka is one of those guys that’s a 9-hitter but you can’t let that fool you because he’s got such a great swing,” Reid said. “That was really important, gave us a lot of energy to work with for the rest of the game.”
The Mustangs got on the board in the top of the fourth. A single from Grayson Bush set the table for Matthew Allen who reached on an error and then an RBI groundout from Dylan Booth and cut the Patriots lead down to three.
In the bottom of the fourth, Albemarle got the run back with Petroka picking up another extra base hit with a double and then Andrew Porter bringing him in on an RBI single with two outs. In the next inning, Albemarle small-balled their way to a 6-1 lead with a walk to Browning, a sacrifice bunt from Miller, and Browning scoring when Jett Shue reached on an error.
Already up comfortable, the Patriots really opened things up in the bottom of the sixth. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Reid. He helped his own cause with a bases clearing 3-run triple to make it 9-1.
The Mustangs rallied for three runs in the seventh. A Tyler Walker single, James Watkins walk, and single from Jake Huffman loaded the bases with one out. Steve Morgan came up with an RBI fielder’s choice. Then Kevin Jarrell came up with an RBI single. The Mustangs plated their final run with Morgan scoring while Jarrell was tied up in a rundown. He scored before Jarrell was tagged but the out ended the game.
“At this point in the season you’re still trying to figure out who your guys are,” said Mustangs coach Corey Hunt. “We gave a lot of different guys opportunities tonight and there are going to be opportunities every game for guys to prove themselves to make the postseason roster. I don’t know that everyone took advantage of those opportunities tonight. I do think we’re in a good place though. We know what it takes to win ball games — throw strikes, make the routine plays defensively and come through in the clutch offensively. It’s that simple with this club. We don’t have a bunch of strikeout pitchers and a bunch of guys that can hit 400 feet. So we have to do this as a complete team. We’ve won six games, so we know how to do it. We just have to stick to it.”
On the night for Monticello, Jarrell was 2-for-4 hitting out of the leadoff spot. Bush and Walker were each 1-for-3. Huffman was 1-for-2.
For Albemarle, Reid was 1-for-3 with four RBI. Andrew Porter was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI. Petroka was also 2-for-2 with an RBI. Ryan Porter was 1-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Monticello (6-3) hosts Western Albemarle on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. while Albemarle (4-2) will host Culpeper on Monday at 6:30 p.m.