Hampton coach Danny Mitchell said going into Tuesday’s showdown for first place in Peninsula District baseball that his Crabbers would have to play flawless baseball to win. An early mistake aside, the Crabbers did just that and prevailed 2-1.
The Crabbers (11-0, 10-0 district) remained in sole possession of first place in the PD. The Monarchs (11-2, 9-2) will look to tighten the race when they host the Crabbers in a rematch at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“If you’re going to win big games and beat perennial powerhouses, you’ve got to limit your mistakes,” Mitchell said. “I think we did.
“For the most part, we were disciplined at the plate and laid off (Menchville pitcher) Ahmaad Goldson’s high fastballs.”
The Crabbers broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning after Keyshawn Johnson led off with a single. Chance Patrick and John McCarthy both walked with one out before Johnson scored on Brenden McBride’s grounder to first base — which prompted a wide throw to the plate on the force attempt — giving Hampton a 2-1 lead.
“We made one mistake early and they made one late,” Mitchell said.
Hampton’s mistake came moments after the Monarchs’ Dawson Guzik singled to center off of Hampton starter Trey Morgan to start the game. Morgan subsequently made a nice pickoff move to get Guzik into a rundown, but the Crabbers dropped the ball and Guzik was safe at first.
The Monarchs made the Crabbers pay as Kade Abrisz followed with a single to left field, moving Guzik to second. With two outs, Menchville’s Stephen Cook hit a dribbler to the right side of the bag at first and, with the Crabbers focused on a play they did not make at first base, speedy Guzik scored all the way from second.
Goldson retired the Crabbers in order in the first, his only easy inning of the game. Crabbers catcher Charles Vassar deposited a Goldson fastball over the left-center-field fence for a home run in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1.
The next three innings were a pitching duel between Goldson, who allowed just two hits, and Morgan, who struck out seven. Morgan pulled off a hidden-ball fake in the fifth inning to pick a Menchville runner off of second.
But the Monarchs loaded the bases on him with no outs in the top of the sixth. Morgan got out of the jam by fielding a harmless fly ball and striking out a batter with an off-speed pitch, before getting Anthony Hall to ground out to Johnson at shortstop.
Austin Maxey led off the top of the seventh with a single for Menchville. Bryan McBride relieved Morgan for the Crabbers and retired next three batters — stranding Maxey at third — to clinch the Crabbers’ victory.
“We got beat, that’s all I can say,” Menchville coach Phil Forbes said. “We’ll see them on Thursday.”
HAMPTON 2, MENCHVILLE 1
Menchville 100 000 0 – 1 6 1
Hampton 010 001 x – 2 2 1
W: Morgan (6-0). L: Goldson (2-1). Standout: Hampton, Vassar 1-2 (solo HR in second). Records: Menchville 11-2, 9-2 Peninsula District; Hampton 11-0, 10-0.
Marty O’Brien, 757-247-4963, email@example.com Twitter @MartyOBrienDP