With a slew of weather delays earlier this spring pushing many games back, a lot of local baseball teams are facing three-game weeks.
Which means they’ll need three reliable starting pitchers instead of the usual two. Tuesday night, Western Albemarle had that third pitcher as Eli Sumpter threw a five-inning, complete game shutout and the Warriors won 10-0 over Albemarle.
It didn’t hurt that after pitching the first half of the first inning that Sumpter was up 4-0 the rest of the way either as he leaned on his defense while only striking out a pair of batters and surrendering just one walk.
“We got like four or five in the first inning and that helped me settle in and do what I can do and keep them off balance,” Sumpter said.
Sumpter’s comfort level was crucial as he managed to put away the Patriots despite not having all his best stuff.
“Eli wasn’t really sharp early but he did what all good pitchers do which is that you don’t pitch with your good stuff all the time and you have to find a way to win,” said Western coach Skip Hudgins.
Henry Kreienbaum drove in the first three runs with a bases-clearing triple into the gap in the first inning. That seemed to get the Warriors going in a big way as Western hit up and down the lineup from there.
“Most lineups you get to a point where it’s like ‘whew, this inning I’m okay’ but our group right now — and we haven’t done anything, all we’ve done is get off to a good start — but our group one through nine you don’t really get a break,” Hudgins said.
Logan Ebanks had a pair of RBI, Jack Maynard had an RBI double and Steven Mangrum, Maynard and Kreienbaum each had two hits.
A couple of critical mistakes hurt the Patriots, and they paid the price against the Warriors’ potent lineup.
“When we’re engaged and we’re throwing strikes, our guys are ready defensively—we haven’t made in any errors in two or three games,” said Albemarle coach Jimmy Bibb. “But (the Warriors are) going to put some pressure on you and then you walk a couple of guys and the floodgates open on you, they’re too good.”
Albemarle will try and bounce back Thursday against Powhatan on the road while Western, with 12 wins in a row under its belt, will take on Louisa on the road the same night.