Prep Baseball Report

Barker Leads Colonial Forge to Conference Championship

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Stafford-A warm, humid Friday night saw Conference 4 rivals C.D. Hylton and No. 18 Colonial Forge face off for the Conference Championship. Both teams had already punched their tickets to play on Monday in the 6A South Region quarterfinals, so this game was all about Conference bragging rights. The Bulldogs went with senior Trey Shepard (Walters State CC) to start the game and the Eagles sent junior Logan Barker (Marshall) out to start the game.

The first three innings went relatively quickly and as both starters came out firing bullets and settled into the game quickly. Barker faced the minimum in the first three innings, allowing a single in the second that was erased when the runner was caught stealing by senior catcher Gabe Schilke (Navy). Shepard issued a walk in each of the first two innings and worked around a two out double in the third to keep the game a scoreless tie. For velocities and scouting information on Shepard and Barker, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog early next week.

In the top of the fourth, Hylton centerfielder Ben Marotske (Randolph Macon) drew a leadoff walk and was bunted into scoring position. Shortstop Fox Semones (James Madison) singled to right, and Marotske rounded third hard trying to score, but he was called out on a bang-bang play at the plate after a good relay from Forge. Barker got a groundout after that to end the inning.

In the bottom half of the inning, Hylton went to the pen to bring in senior Spencer Laitinen (Eastern Mennonite). The Bulldogs were trying to keep all of their arms available for Monday’s Regional game and were warry of the VHSL pitching rest rule. Laitinen got two quick outs before surrendering an infield single and a walk with two outs, but he was able to end the inning with the game still scoreless.

In the fifth, Barker got his leadoff man before junior Colin Verberg flared a single into right center. Catcher Richard Ortiz singled to right as well, and Verberg tried to go first to third. Colonial Forge junior rightfielder Eric Zimmerman had other ideas, gunning out Verberg at third to pick up his second outfield assist in as many innings. Barker got a fly out to end the inning after that.

Laitinen again got two quick outs in the fifth before getting into some trouble with a hit batsmen and another batter reaching on an error. He was able to get Schilke to ground out sharply to end the threat. Barker threw a perfect sixth inning as the game kept moving along at a swift pace.

The bottom of the sixth started with Barker chopping a single over the second base bag. Zimmerman then dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt and ended up beating it out for another infield single to put two on with no outs. Forge brought in a pinch bunter, who did his job and ended up safe when a tag attempt missed him, loading the bases with no outs. The Eagles again went to the bench, bringing in freshman Jake Wortman, who promptly singled up the middle, driving in Barker’s courtesy runner and giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Laitinen got a comebacker from the next batter, and the Bulldogs turned a 1-2-3 double play to get two outs, but with two runners still in scoring position. Centerfielder Steven White (Davis & Elkins) hit a sharp grounder to second and the throw to first got away, allowing two more runs to score and pushing Colonial Forge’s lead to 3-0 after six innings of play.

Barker took the mound in the top of the seventh, and quickly went three-up, three-down to finish his shutout and seal the Conference 4 Championship for Colonial Forge.

For Hylton, Shephard threw 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K. Laitinen took the loss, going 3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, BB, 2 HBP, K. Offensively, Semones went 1-3. Verberg went 1-2. Ortiz was 1-2. Blake Coleman (Maryland Eastern Shore) went 1-3.

For Forge, Barker earned the win with a CG, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K while also going 1-3 with a run at the plate. Matt Nickles (Randolph Macon) went 1-2 with a 2B and 2 HBP. Zimmerman was 2-2 with a BB. Wortman was 1-1 with an RBI and a run. 


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