Winchester Royals lose home opener to Waynesboro Generals, 9-7

WINCHESTER -- Eight runs spread out across the fourth and seventh innings were enough for the Waynesboro Generals to defeat the Winchester Royals at Bridgeforth Field on Tuesday night, 9-7.

“You got to stay out of the big innings when you play baseball. We were unable to escape two big innings,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said. “Outside of that, (Waynesboro) had one run scored in the eighth inning.”

Winchester native Ryan Kennedy started the game for the Royals and went 6+ innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits while striking out three.

"I had a lot of hitters with two strikes tonight and they were finding a way on. Other than that, I think I’ve learned what I need to learn this game and next start will be a lot better,” Kennedy said.

The Royals plated the opening run of the ball game in the first inning thanks to a passed ball from Jordan Ammons. An error from Jackson Webb and a wild pitch from Graham Ashcraft scored two more to open up a 3-0 lead.

Waynesboro responded with three runs in the fourth. With runners on first and third with one out, Tyler Trovinger and Dalton Wingo each hit singles that scored the runners on base to make it 3-2. Ammons, the next batter, tied the game with an RBI groundout.

“The key to game was the big innings,” Mays said.

With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, Matthew Holloway worked a 3-2 count, then smoked a single above the outstretched arm of Kyle Wright at shortstop, allowing the Royals to regain the lead, 4-3.

"Each day (the offense is) getting better. I've seen better approaches from the guys. We are putting better swings on the baseball,” Mays said.

In the seventh, Kennedy surrendered a bunt single and walked Webb before being taken out of the game. Playing matchups, Mays brought in Bryan Whitacre to face Wright at the top of the lineup. A nine-pitch at-bat resulted in a single up the middle that tied the game at four a piece.

A couple batters later, Andrew Orzel gave the Generals its first lead of the game with a two-RBI single off of Jake Posey. The right-hander then issued consecutive walks with the bases loaded to extend the lead, 8-4.

"I don't think the game was defined by what happened in the seventh inning,” Mays said. “I wouldn't do anything differently, it was just a matter of they executed and we didn't."

Will Guay cleaned up the mess and escaped a bases loaded, no out jam to keep the game at a four-run deficit. He finished the game with three innings of one-run relief while striking out five.

"Guay went in there and challenged people. We needed punch out and he did that for us. We want him to be our closer and he showed that he can get that done tonight."

Although Chris Salvey crushed a solo home run in the seventh, the Generals answered with a run in the eighth to make it 9-5.

"It was nice to see Salvey get the big fly, Dom (Peroni) gets a hit, Matt Holloway gets the nice RBI single. Little things like that are going to snowball into bigger things,” Mays said.

Winchester scored two runs in the bottom half of the frame from a Chris Salvey RBI groundout and a Samyr Santos RBI single, who finished 2-for-4.

"I'm trying to get back into my groove after coming off a little break from school, but I'm starting to get comfortable again,” Santos said.

The Royals travel to Covington on Wednesday night in search of their first win of the year. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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