James Wood Falls To Skyline In Baseball

Posted: April 2, 2016
By ROBERT STOCKS
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — James Wood High School’s baseball team had plenty of opportunities to score against Skyline, but unfortunately for the Colonels, the timely hits were few and far between.

The Colonels put runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings but came up empty each time against Skyline senior starting pitcher Joe Pingley.

Pingley pitched four solid innings and delivered a pair of clutch hits to help the Hawks snap a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 Northwestern District victory over James Wood at R. Charles Hott Field on Friday night.

The Colonels (3-3, 0-1 district) left nine runners on base, including six in scoring position, and made three errors.

James Wood coach Brent Lockhart said he tells his team about how walks and errors can hurt and Friday’s game illustrated that.

“I always tell my guys, ‘You add up the walks, hit batters and errors and that’s how many runs they’re going to score.’ I think we had two walks, a hit batter and we made that error in left field and that gives you the five [runs],” Lockhart said. “If we can eliminate that — we’ll be alright.

“... Skyline did a great job of taking care of the baseball and not making hardly any mistakes. But as a whole for our team, we just made too many mistakes.”

Whenever the Colonels made a mistake, the Hawks (2-4, 1-0) made them pay for it.

Skyline’s Gavin Kandrick was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the first inning, and Colonels starter Brady Renner (0-1) struck out Aaron Tasker for the second out.

Hawks junior Matthew Hartzell reached on an infield single, and Pingley followed with a double into the gap in left-center field, scoring both Kandrick and Hartzell to put Skyline ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

“I got a fastball and just did what I needed to do — hit it where it was pitched and barreled it up,” said Pingley, who went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. “That’s real key because I’m on the mound and I helped myself out. It gave us a couple runs and gave me a little cushion on the mound and some room to work.”

The Hawks added to that cushion in the third.

Kandrick (2 for 3 with three runs scored) lined a single up the middle to start the inning, and Renner walked Hartzell with one out. Pingley reached on an error when his flare dropped between center fielder Ben Russo and shortstop Joel Smith, allowing Kandrick to score.

Kandrick helped the Hawks tack on another run in the top of the fifth.

After he singled to start the inning, Wood reliever Cody Polk’s errant throw on a pick-off attempt allowed Kandrick to go from first to third. Following the two-base error, the relay throw from Polk to third was off the mark, allowing Kandrick to jog to the plate to give Skyline a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

Pingley, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior and two-way lineman for the Hawks football team, worked around threats in each inning.

He allowed just three hits through the first four innings before walking James Wood’s Russo and Cameron Gross to start the fifth. The back-to-back walks made Skyline coach Jay Barnes go to his bullpen, bringing in Tasker.

Tyler Matthews’ RBI single down the third-base line scored Russo, and Brett Baker followed with an RBI single to score Gross. Matthews scored when Polk reached on an error to cut the Hawks’ lead to 4-3.

Lockhart brought in the left-handed Gross, who kept Skyline off the board in the sixth, but the top half of the batting order came through once again for the Hawks in the seventh.

Tasker, who struck out the side in the previous inning, reached on a one-out single, but Gross struck out Hartzell. With two outs, Pingley singled to left to drive in Tasker for a big insurance run.

Skyline’s No. 2-5 hitters — Kandrick, Tasker, Hartzell and Pingley — combined for six of the Hawks’ eight hits, all five runs and three RBIs.

“We got a couple timely hits,” Barnes said. “The two-out hit in the first inning by Joe Pingley was big time for us. Over the past couple games we’ve been progressing towards this and we finally got some clutch hits tonight that really helped.”

Tasker was also clutch, throwing three scoreless innings in relief.

The Colonels threatened with a runner in scoring position in the seventh, but the Hawks junior reliever kept Wood off the board.

After issuing a one-out walk to Matthews, Tasker retired Mitch Morris on a ground ball that allowed Matthews to advance to second.

With two outs, Tasker got Baker looking at a called third strike to end it. He allowed just two hits, one run and struck out four in three innings for the save.

The Colonels totaled five hits, but had plenty of scoring chances with Pingley (five walks, one hit batter) and Tasker (one walk) combining to walk six and hit a batter.

“We just need to get the bat on the ball and play as a team,” said Matthews, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and scored a run. “We’ve just got to put the bat on the ball and get it in play [when we have runners on base].”

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