Western Albemarle baseball has been throwing up some solid offensive numbers during an unbeaten start to the season, averaging 12 runs per game.
But Tuesday night against Monticello, the Warriors’ pitching carried the day in a 2-0 victory over Monticello with Jacob Lively and Devin Powell combining to lock up the Mustangs with a combined 2-hit, 11-strikeout effort.
“The pitching was really good tonight, both of them had command and threw strikes,” said Western coach Skip Hudgins. “We’ve thrown a lot of pitches (in the first three games) that we didn’t need to but I thought tonight we were very efficient.”
Lively got that started with 4.2 shutout innings, striking out seven while allowing just two hits and three walks. Powell stepped in late in the fifth and was similarly locked in for Western (4-0), striking out four in 2.1 innings of work without giving up a walk or a hit.
Powell, a junior lefthander, threw well in the Warriors’ road win over William Monroe a week ago. He’s clearly gained some confidence from that performance.
“I felt pretty confident, my breaking ball was a little off but my fastball was still there,” Powell said. “I just focused on trying to throw strikes.”
Lively’s first varsity start was also encouraging for the Warriors, who are working with a young, inexperienced roster and still trying to identify who’s up to the task on the mound.
“They’ve done a really nice job for us, both of those guys,” Hudgins said. “(Powell) has pitched in three of the four games we’ve played.”
The Warriors, who already boast wins over Monroe, Louisa and Powhatan, got just enough offense to make that strong pitching stand up. They scratched out a run in the first inning when Wyatt Hull scored on an error. Then Lively helped his own cause with an RBI double in the sixth, scoring Zachary Mallia.
Hill went 2-for-3 with a double to lead the way at the plate while Isaac Sumpter also added a double for the Warriors.
Monticello, meanwhile, showed signs of improvement in the shutout loss with a largely revamped roster that’s still learning roles and ironing out occasional mistakes. “They’re a good, close group,” said Monticello coach Corey Hunt. “They can’t help but pick each other up, it’s been a fun journey to this point but they’ve got a ways to go.”
Sam Lewis threw well, allowing just a single earned run in six innings of work while striking out five and walking just two. Dylan Zimmerman and James Watkins had the Mustangs’ two hits. The Mustangs left three runners on in the loss.
“That’s a heck of a high school ball game right there,” Hunt said. “They threw well and they executed defensively, it’s that simple for us.”
The Mustangs host Louisa County Thursday night while Western travels to take on Orange County the same night.