Bats quieted as Winchester Royals fall to Staunton Braves, 9-1

WINCHESTER – The Winchester Royals could not recover from a five-run sixth inning from Staunton and fell to the Braves at Bridgeforth Field on Sunday night, 9-1.

“It seems to be that sixth inning for our pitchers, or our bullpen guys when they come in the seventh,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said.

Ryan Kennedy was cruising through five innings, having allowed just one run with seven strikeouts. In the sixth is where everything fell apart.

After consecutive singles, wild pitches advanced the runners 90 feet. A sacrifice fly from Trey Jacobs broke a 1-1 tie and a Brandon Hernandez RBI single plated Staunton’s third run. A couple batters later, Brycen Thomas clubbed a three-run home run to open up a 6-1 lead.

“We gave (Staunton) a lot of free 90’s, meaning you know throwing to home when there is no chance of getting the guy out and letting the guy go from first to second,” Mays said. “Free 90’s, keeping the double play in order; it changes the way we call pitches.”

After Kennedy’s exit after six innings, Staunton added an insurance run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to seal the eight-run victory.

Winchester’s lone run came via Chris Salvey (2-for-4, 2B, HR), as he belted his fourth home run of the summer in the fourth inning. The Royals created chances in the early innings, but could not push a run across.

“The first and second inning we had a runner at third with less than two outs and we didn’t get them in. Right there you have a chance to set the tone in a ballgame and we didn’t do it. We had a chance to get the momentum right away and we didn’t do it,” Mays said.

After Joseph Sadallah singled to lead off the game, he stole second and third, giving Aaron Palensky and Samyr Santos opportunities to drive in an early run. However, Palensky struck out and Santos popped out to center to end the threat.

Again in the second, Salvey led off with a double and moved to third from a groundout. Jordan Huntley hit a scorching line drive at the shortstop, Matt Golda, who made a superb jumping catch to rob Huntley of a hit. Matthew Holloway grounded out to end the inning.

“We got away from our approaches and that was our ultimate demise,” Mays said.

Aside from Salvey’s home run, Bailey Hall stymied the offense for seven innings, as he allowed just five hits and one run while striking out five.

“We had a pretty good idea of what (Staunton’s) pitcher was going to do going in. I thought we could have done more offensively,” Mays said.

Even worse, Santos exited in the game in the second inning with what appears to be a lower back injury. He is a major producer at the plate with 11 RBI and three home runs this season.

“We are thinking it is a lower back strain so hopefully he can get healthy and have him back by the end of the week,” Mays said.

The Royals return to Bridgeforth on Monday, as it hosts the Purcellville Cannons in a makeup game from earlier in the month. Hunter Murray gets the ball at 7 p.m. in his Valley Baseball League debut

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