Late inning collapse leads to Winchester Royals loss to New Market Rebels, 6-3

WINCHESTER – Carrying a 3-3 tie into the top of the ninth inning, the Winchester Royals’ bullpen coughed up three runs to New Market and eventually fell to the Rebels at Bridgeforth Field on Monday night.

“I thought we played strong and I felt like we got tired at the end,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said.

Hank Biggs issued a walk to Brandon Parker to start the ninth. On Parker’s attempt to steal second, Masen Prososki failed to catch the throw down as the ball sailed into center field. Parker advanced to third, and Mays went to Jake Posey after that.

Posey’s first pitch out of the bullpen rose to the backstop, scoring Parker from third and giving New Market the lead, 4-3. A couple batters later, Chase Sudduth and Kobe Lopez each singled up the middle to open up a 6-3 lead.

“We pitched behind 21 of 42 batters. The big thing was the walks. Four walks in the game and those runs scored,” Mays said. “If our guys can learn how to stop walking people and get ahead, we are going to be a tough team to stop.”

Similarly, Christian Negron ran out of gas towards the end of his start. He was rolling through five innings, having allowed four hits, one of them a solo shot from Un-Don Fernandez in the second.

“He did everything I could ask him to do tonight,” Mays said.

In the sixth, Negron issued consecutive walks with one out, followed by consecutive RBI singles. Mays went to Biggs after his starter gave up three earned runs on six hits in 5.1 IP.

“He only walked two guys, pitched 5.1 innings and then got tired,” Mays said.

Biggs went 2.2 innings and racked up seven strikeouts. Although, he was charged with the loss as his leadoff walk in the ninth scored on Posey’s wild pitch.

“That was real big coming out the pen in the situation that he had. Just throwing strikes and competing,” Royals designated hitter Samyr Santos said.

Since the arrival of Aaron Palensky and Prososki from Southeast Community College, there has been a major boost in the offensive attack. Palensky drove in the first run of the ballgame with a RBI single in the first, while Prososki tied the game in the seventh with a single.

“They are very impactful. Any time Prososky can get on you know pretty much know he’s going to be at third within two pitches. Palensky, with his swing, he is going to drive in runs for us all year,” Mays said.

Santos continued his hot start to the summer with a solo home run in the second. He is now hitting .316 with four RBI in five games.

“(Austin George) was throwing a lot of fastballs first pitch, so I just went up there looking for that, and that’s what he did so I just put a good swing on it,” Santos said. “I just want to continue to have better AB’s and just swing at good pitches.”

On the other hand, Jordan Huntley’s struggles continued, as he finished with four strikeouts tonight. He is down to a dismal .105 batting average.

“He’s still trying to find his groove. He went from where he was a JUCO All-American to not really getting much (playing time) at Mount Olive,” Mays said. “We are trying to get him into a position where he can be successful.”

Anthony Simonelli makes his Valley Baseball League debut on Tuesday when the Royals take on the Staunton Braves on the road. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

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