In an intense week of play, the Varsity Panther Baseball Team posted a 2-1 home field win against Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy on April 22 and an 11-4 loss on an April 27 road trip to Clarke County.
The SVCA Patriots heard the Panther battle cry last week. Coach Donald O’Meara said, “It was a great game!”
Through the first three innings, the scoreboard glared 0-0. The seeming stalemate broke in the top of the fourth when the Patriots scored one unearned run. Panthers screamed back. “We scored our two runs in a very exciting bottom of the fifth,” O’Meara said. “Trailing 1-0, Chris Garcia hit a single and moved to second on Matt Fletcher’s walk. Then Taylor Yowell came up to hit a single and loaded the bases with only one out. Nick Carter batted a ground ball to second, and Garcia scored.”
Yowell was forced out at second, while SVCA’s second baseman was looking to turn two on a hustling Carter. O’Meara sent Fletcher home on a nothing-to-lose chance for a winning run. This forced the second baseman to throw home, and Fletcher scored the winning run.
Brandon Walker was the winning pitcher. He went six innings, giving up only three hits and striking out three Patriots. Yowell also had great mound time. He retired three batters in the seventh inning.
“We had seven total hits and played a great all around game. Go Panthers!”
Clarke County 11, Rappahannock 4
The Panthers took the momentum to Clarke County on Tuesday night. Coach O’Meara left the game with a loss but a great deal of support for his athletes: “We lost 11-4, but it was a good game for us. We jumped out early in the top of the second with a lead off home-run by Evan Espinola.”
In the bottom of the second, two untimely Panther errors with two outs allowed the Eagles to score two runs. Rapp went into the third inning down 2-1. In the top of third, the team rallied with two outs. Matt Fletcher hit a single, stole second and scored on a double by John Mills – tying the game. Brandon Walker then smacked an RBI single and Mills scored, producing a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the winds shifted. O’Meara described the atmosphere: “Clarke’s bats started getting hot. A three-run homer gave them a 5-3 lead. We could not score in the top of the fourth, and they stayed hot with two homeruns. We stayed in the battle. Cody Casey added one in the seventh, but Brandon Walker got the loss on the mound.” Rapp scored four runs on nine hits and stole three bases, but suffered a loss.
“This was a disappointing loss,” O’Meara said, “but at the same time, we competed well.”
Panthers look forward to a home game at 7 p.m. today (April 29) against Fresta Valley and a showdown on the Madison Mountaineers’ field Friday night (April 30).
Varsity softball shut out
In a one-game week, the RCHS varsity softball girls traveled to Clarke County on Tuesday night only to suffer a 15-0 defeat at the hands of the Eagles.
Defensively, the team made 11 errors that gave up 11 runs. Offensively, Panthers left six or seven runners on base. The team’s only hit was a Brittani Dodson double in the fifth inning. A disappointed Coach Jamie Harris saw the team’s lack of determination as an obstacle to victory. “Overall, we were not motivated to play today, even with the stakes being high for district seeding. It was a very frustrating evening.”