Bats explode for eight runs in sixth, pushes Royals past River Bandits, 8-2
WINCHESTER – It seemed like another one of those nights for the Winchester Royals. Through 15 outs, the offense put a runner in scoring position every inning and could not cash in.
Until the sixth, where the Royals put eight runs on the board to snap its three-game losing streak and defeat the Woodstock River Bandits on Tuesday night at Bridgeforth Field, 8-2.
“It was great because I’ve been waiting for it to happen all season,” Winchester manager Jacob Mays said.
Samyr Santos, in his first game back since straining his back, started the inning with a scorching line drive to center field. After Jordan Huntley worked a full-count walk, Domonic Peroni laid down a beautiful bunt towards the third base line and legged it out for an infield single.
That set the table for William Welsh. On the second pitch, he smacked a single into right field to drive in the opening runs of the ballgame.
“The guy was grooving me inside with fastballs and the umpire wasn’t giving it to him,” Welsh said. “Just basically pitch selection has been a big part of the game for me in the last couple days.”
Added Mays, “Will Welsh got big. When I brought him in here, we were counting on him to be a big contributor in our offense and he’s starting to come around now.”
The left-handed hitter is 4-for-7 with three walks and a pair of RBI in his last three games.
“Definitely being more patient. I’m used to being a first pitch swing, because they try to throw a first pitch fastball but they’re either picking up on it or I’m not swinging at the right pitch first pitch so I’ve just been drawing a lot deeper counts and kind of being more patient with my pitch selection,” Welsh said.
The next batter, Kaylib Hanson, greeted Austin Bissell out of the bullpen with a double that hugged the left field line to score two more runs, giving Winchester a 4-0 lead.
Lucas Oxendine followed up by drawing a walk, and later scored on a wild pitch. In the same at-bat, Joe Sadallah ripped an RBI triple over the head of Connor Wilson in center field to open up a 6-0 lead. After Sadallah scored on a balk, Aaron Palensky capped off the inning with an RBI double to the left center gap, pushing the Royals’ lead to 8-0.
“In the last two or three games, (Welsh is) really starting to hit the baseball. It was nice to see us finally break through, especially him,” Mays said.
Richardson’s dominant effort
This gave starting pitcher Evan Richardson more than enough cushion to complete a spectacular seven-inning outing. He threw six scoreless before permitting a couple runs in the seventh to earn his second win of the season. Richardson allowed five hits and two runs while striking out seven in as many innings.
“(Richardson) went after hitters. He got people to swing early in counts, and that kept his pitches down really quick,” Mays said.
Five of Richardson’s seven strikeouts came via slider. From the outset, he befuddled opposing hitters with that pitch, which allowed him to dive into the rest of his repertoire.
“My offspeed was working a lot better today. I’m just trying to find my fastball a bit more…Today my fastball was cutting a lot and diving a bit. I just had a lot of movement on a lot of my pitches. I try to keep hitters off by throwing a lot of junk,” Richardson said.
A strikeout on a sweeping slider, as part of a seven-pitch first inning, set the tone for Richardson’s best outing of the season.
“That’s usually the big thing for me is to try and get a strike out in the first two innings; try to establish myself,” Richardson said. “I think I tunnel (my slider) pretty well with my fastball. The fact that my fastball comes and cuts a little bit is a big impact because my slider starts as that same fastball movement, and starts to cut a little bit then just drops off.”
Dylan Gentry and Trent Sidwell each worked scoreless innings of relief to seal Winchester’s sixth win of the season, and its second over Woodstock.
Winchester travels to Bing Crosby Stadium to play the Front Royal Cardinals on Wednesday night. Last time the two teams met at Bing, Chris Salvey belted a decisive three-run home run in the eighth inning to lead to Royals to a 5-3 victory.
“Hopefully we’ll grind together more as a team and put more hits up on the board rather than just relying on that big home run. Start to mesh and get something rolling here for us,” Welsh said.
First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.