Prep Baseball Report

Marshall Advances to 5A North Semifinals with Win Over Atlee

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Falls Church-Thursday night saw the 5A North Region quarterfinals take place across the State. A warm night in Northern Virginia played host to a matchup between Atlee and No. 15 George C. Marshall. Atlee was the Conference 16 Runners-up last week and beat Stafford 11-1 on Tuesday to advance the quarterfinals and earn the trip north to Marshall. Marshall won Conference 13, finishing conference play undefeated and earning a bye into the quarterfinals. The Raiders chose to start junior lefty Clay Naff and the Statesman went with senior ace Steven Johel (Coastal Carolina).

Senior centerfield Andrew Foster reached to start the game on an error and was bunted down to second base. Atlee senior designated hitter Henry Moore (Wilson Memorial) blasted a double off of the centerfield fence to drive in Foster and give the Raiders an early 1-0 lead.

Naff worked a perfect first, and both pitchers threw scoreless second innings. Johel worked around two-out single in his half while striking out two. Naff issued a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the second, but senior catcher Tyler Blaum (UVA-Wise) hosed the runner trying to steal for the second out and Naff ended the inning after that. For velocities and scouting information on Naff and Johel, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog later this week.

Foster led the third off with a booming double off of the centerfield fence. He was bunted down to third for Moore with one out, and Moore was able to work a walk to put runners on the corners for the Raiders. Johel attempted a pickoff to first base and the ball scooted about ten feet away Nick Cintron (Cornell), giving Foster a window to score. Cintron got to the ball and threw home off balance, getting Foster at the plate in a bang-bang play for the second out of the inning. Moore advanced to second while this was happening. Leftfielder Cole Blackman then singled to right, and Moore tried to score from second, only to be thrown out at home on a relay from right through Cintron as the cut man to end the inning with each of the last two outs being runners thrown out at home.

In the bottom half of the inning Johel and centerfielder Jacob Han drew one out walks and were both still on first and second when shortstop Robert Guenther dribbled a chopper up the third baseline. Naff got off the mound quickly to make the play, but his throw hit Guenther in the back, and Johel’s courtesy runner was able to score to tie the game at one.

Johel worked quickly in the top of the fourth, throwing a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts to bring Marshall back to the plate. A leadoff walk, a fielder’s choice, and a Nathaniel Scheinman (Skidmore) single put two on with one out for the Statesmen. Cintron drew a walk to load bases and Atlee went to the bullpen, bringing in junior submariner Carson Box. Johel welcomed him to the game with an RBI single through the left side to give Marshall a 2-1 lead. Box was able to get the second out on a strikeout, but could not escape the inning without allowing another run as senior Ben Kerns (Ursinus) punched a single up the middle to stretch the Marshall lead to 3-1 after four innings.

In the top of the fifth, Johel allowed a leadoff single to Jordan Brooks, who was bunted into scoring position. Johel got a pop up on the infield and a groundout sandwiched around a hit by pitch to end the threat and maintain the lead. Box settled in and threw a perfect fifth with two strikeouts.

The Atlee sixth got underway with Blackman picking up his second hit of the game, a single that was absolutely hammered through shortstop. Freshman first baseman Zackary Beach took a two strike pitch off of his leg to put the tying run on for the Raiders. Atlee opted not to bunt in the middle of its order, and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with one out. Johel got Blaum to strikeout for the second out of the inning. Brooks then hit a grounder to third, which got through the third basemen into leftfield, cutting the deficit to 3-2 headed to the bottom of the sixth.

Box allowed a one-out single to Cintron, but otherwise worked a clean inning, doing his job and giving Atlee a chance to tie the game in the seventh. Johel though, was more than capable of finishing what he started as the big righty threw a perfect seventh inning, ending the game with a strikeout to send the Statesmen to a Regional semifinal date with Potomac.

For Atlee, Naff took the loss, working 3 1/3 IP, 3 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 1 K. Box went 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K. Foster was 1-4 with a 2B and a run. Moore was 1-3 with a BB, 2B, and an RBI. Blackman was 2-3 with a run. Brooks was 2-3.

For Marshall, Johel earned the win, throwing a CG, 2 R, 6 H, BB, 2 HBP, 6 K while also going 1-2 at the plate with a BB and an RBI. Kerns was 1-3 with an RBI. Scheinman was 1-3 with a run. Cintron was 1-2 with a BB.

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