Miller baseball rolls past Covenant

Photo by Bart Isley

Miller School’s Stu Barrett just needed a little time to settle in after walking a pair of runners and surrendering a single in the first inning Friday. Apparently the George Mason-bound righty usually does.


“That’s how I’ve always been, I always have a rough first inning,” Barrett said. “Whether it be I give up a run, a couple of hits or a walk, I usually find my way into the zone.”


Barrett got locked in against Covenant after that first inning hiccup and a threw a one-hitter against a rebuilding Eagles team as Miller rolled to a 16-0, five-inning victory in its first game in the state of Virginia this season after a five-game spring road trip to Florida and South Carolina where the Mavericks, the defending VISAA D2 champions, went 2-3.


Barrett struck out five and allowed just three walks in the effort while Miller’s offense broke the game open in the fourth. That’s when senior catcher Adam Hackenberg blasted a pitch over the left field fence for a three-run home run, an occurrence that’s become such a regular thing for the Mavericks that it feels like just a matter of time before he connects on one of those blasts.


“He’s just a freak of nature, there’s nothing else I can say about that,” Barrett said. “He’s got four homeruns on the year and each one of them has probably gotten out of here with like 105 (exit velocity) or something. We expect every time he comes to the plate something scary is going to happen to the other team.”


Hackenberg went 3-for-5 on the day while leadoff hitter Ethan Murray posted a pair of hits. Sophomore Henry Hardie added to the onslaught with a fifth-inning grand slam that highlighted his 2-for-3 performance.


Miller and Covenant developed a serious rivalry over the last few years in Virginia Independent Conference play, but the Eagles are in the process of an overhaul under first year head coach Chris Madison. With a limited roster and pitching depth, the Eagles struggled to contain a Miller lineup that was hungry for hits after facing top-flight pitching from loaded programs on their southern swing.


“We knew (Covenant) wasn’t going to be as stacked as years past with guys like Will Moore and Jake Haney but we’ve seen a few of the guys early in the lineup and knew they could swing the bat a little,” Barrett said.


The Eagles got some solid pitching from starter Declan Kent but struggled from there, even employing Cole Harvey, a top offensive lineman for the Eagles, who returned to the diamond after a couple of years away this year. Harvey gutted it out along with the rest of the Eagles’ staff but struggled against Miller’s developing but talented lineup.


The Mavericks get a short break before taking on Norfolk Academy on the road — Miller will eventually wrap up nine straight road games before its home opener. Covenant, now sitting at 1-1, will look to bounce back against Carlisle on the road Tuesday.