Winchester squeaks by Purcellville Cannons on the road, 8-6
PURCELLVILLE – The Purcellville Cannons were a base hit away in the ninth inning from completing a seven-run comeback at Fireman’s Field on Tuesday night.
Winchester Royals reliever Trent Sidwell faced the bases loaded with two outs, and Blake Simmons at the plate. After fouling off the previous pitch, Sidwell threw a 1-2 breaking pitch in the dirt that Simmons chased. Lucas Oxendine stepped on home plate to record the out and seal the Royals’ 8-6 victory over Purcellville.
“We’re going to compete for nine innings. Our kryptonite has been the seventh and eighth inning this year, and we found a way to get by that tonight,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said.
The Royals dominated the first seven innings of the ball game, having accumulated an 8-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. An RBI groundout from Domonic Peroni in the first and a two-RBI double from Masen Prososki in the second immediately gave Winchester an early lead.
“We didn’t get it in the first, but we got it throughout the ball game and I can’t for anything more from our hitters,” Mays said.
In the fourth, Jordan Huntley drew a two-out walk, before Joe Sadallah laced a double to score Huntley and extend to a four-run lead.
“We came up with big hits when we needed it,” Mays said. “They are just getting adjusted to the bats, better approaches.”
Samyr Santos accounted for the next three runs, as he smacked a solo homer over right field in the fifth and a two-run shot over left field in the seventh. Collectively, the offense has belted seven home runs in the past five games.
“It’s been in them all season. I think seven of our nine hitters hit double digit home runs this year in school,” Mays said.
Jordan Huntley capped off the three-run inning with an RBI single to give the Royals an 8-0 lead.
“We had big at-bats from people all night. Jordan Huntley is striking the baseball. Santos with his two home runs,” Mays said.
All of this run support went to Anthony Simonelli, as he was tabbed as the starter tonight. He put together one of the best pitching performances this year so far. The rising sophomore threw seven innings, allowing one earned run on two hits while allowing two walks and striking out eight.
“(Simonelli) honestly didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he was able to command the zone with his fastball and his changeup…He put on a clinic; hit spots and didn’t leave the ball over the middle. He dominated their bats all night,” Mays said.
Hank Biggs started the eighth and struggled mightily in relief. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases before Luke Berryhill unloaded a triple to the left-center gap. A couple batters later, TK McWhertor singled Berryhill in to trim the lead to 8-5.
Mays eventually went to Bryan Whitacre, who recorded the last two outs and retained the three-run lead. In the ninth, Whitacre walked Kenny Oyama to lead off, resulting in Trent Sidwell coming in to record the save.
Although allowing a double to score Oyama, Sidwell pitched out of a bases loaded jam to seal the victory.
Winchester travels to Charlottesville to face off against one of the best teams in the league in the TomSox. First pitch will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday