William Monroe baseball has been on fire of late, winning five straight and eight of the Dragons’ last nine. Friday night they kept it going and made it six straight with an 11-1 run-rule win over Central Woodstock, clinching the Northwestern District 3A regular season crown.
“It’s been great, they’ve worked so hard,” said William Monroe coach Mike Maynard. “We lost game two in Brentsville and now we’re a completely different team.”
With the victory, the Dragons will now get a week off before hosting the first round of the Region 3B tournament Monday June 14.
Hunter Powell was a big part of the win, throwing five innings in the complete game effort where he surrendered just one run and struck out five. Powell gave up just three hits and didn’t walk a single batter. He also helped himself at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate that included a triple and an RBI.
Jayden Kirby also had a big night at the plate, going 2-for-2 with three runs and a double. Chance Mallory knocked in three runs from the leadoff spot while going 2-for-4 on the night with a double. Freshman Jamal Neal, Blake Shifflett, Hayden Gibson and Jared Shifflett each registered an RBI.
That multi-faceted offense has played a huge role in the Dragons getting on track with eight or more runs during their six-game win streak. Some of that is happening because they’re so aggressive on the base paths, nabbing an astonishing 63 steals on 65 attempts this year.
“We’ve been putting runs on the board big time,” Maynard said. “We’re probably the fastest team I’ve ever had and we play a lot of small ball.”
The Dragons have also enjoyed some rapid development from Neal who’s hitting .379 as a freshman, sophomore Waylon Cheek and his 0.94 ERA and the emergence of juniors Blake Shifflett (13 steals), Kaleb Doshier (nine steals) and Jared Shifflett (hitting .385 with 13 RBI) who missed potentially breakout sophomore years.
“The young kids have developed so fast and it has made us a different team,” Maynard said.
The Dragons will host the first round of the Region 3B tournament June 14, with just a single team advancing out of the region tournament, the stakes are about to get higher quick, but right now the Dragons have a recipe for success that has Monroe playing its best baseball of the year going into the postseason.