Childs, Fairman combine for 1-hitter in Clarke County's baseball win over James Wood

By ROBERT STOCKS | The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — Clarke County freshman pitcher Colby Childs admitted that he had some pre-game jitters as he took the mound for his first varsity start against James Wood.

But after the first inning, Childs settled in and kept the Colonels hitless through the first four innings.

Eagles senior reliever Sam Fairman took over from there, allowing just one hit the rest of the way, and senior designated hitter Duff Bloomingdale connected on a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth as Clarke defeated James Wood 3-0 at Singhas Field on Friday afternoon.

“I was a little nervous at first, but when I got past the first inning I overcame the nervousness,” Childs said. “[Our] infielders played a big role in the [win] — they got a lot of balls and made all the plays.

“It’s a big win. We came in confident and that helped us out.”

James Wood senior pitcher Joel Smith turned in a solid outing, keeping the Eagles off the board until the fifth inning.

With one out in the fifth, Clarke freshman Mike Edwards (1 for 3) singled to center. After Smith struck out Mike Zuleger (1 for 2) for the second out, Fairman (1 for 2) singled to center to put runners on first and second.

Freshman Peyton Rutherford followed, reaching on an infield single on a close play at first. The Colonels first baseman Brady Renner hesitated a bit after Rutherford (1 for 2) reached the bag, and Edwards beat the errant throw to the plate to put the Eagles ahead 1-0.

Smith (1-1) allowed four hits in 42/3 innings. He struck out six and hit one batter.

“Joel did an excellent job,” James Wood coach Brent Lockhart said. “He gave us a great chance to win. He gave us a great opportunity — we just have to put some more runs on the board.”

Clarke County added two big insurance runs in the sixth off James Wood reliever Trenton Campbell.

After Childs and Eamon Juday grounded out to start the inning, Kaden Warren (1 for 3) doubled to left.

Bloomingdale (1 for 3) followed and launched a fastball from Campbell over the right-field fence for an opposite-field homer that landed on Ramsburg Lane.

“He started me off with two curveballs and I saw the catcher go to the mound to talk with him, and I was thinking fastball,” said Bloomingdale of his first homer of the season and fourth of his varsity career. “I just sat fastball and did what I could with it.”

While Clarke County totaled six hits, Childs and Fairman kept the Colonels’ bats quiet throughout.

Childs worked out a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. After retiring the first two Colonel hitters on ground outs, Childs walked three straight.

With the bases loaded and a full count, Childs got James Wood hitter Colby Monroe to fly out to center to end the inning.

From there, he retired the Colonels in order in both the second and fourth innings.

Fairman pitched the final three innings, allowing just one hit — a double down the third-base line by James Wood’s Ben Russo to start the sixth.

Russo advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt by Smith, but Fairman struck out Tanner George for the second out and retired Campbell on a ground out to short to strand Russo at third.

“Clarke has a very well-rounded team,” Lockhart said. “They played excellent defense tonight and didn’t make any errors on the field. Their pitchers did a great job of getting ahead of our hitters and our hitters just didn’t put together any hits tonight.

“We didn’t have the base hits but we had enough people on-base tonight with runners in scoring position [the Colonels stranded five on base, including four in scoring position], and we didn’t have anyone step up to the plate and get that hit when we really needed it.”

Fairman (1-0), who struck out three, retired the Colonels in order in the seventh to end it.

Clarke County coach Mike Smith said Childs did a nice job in his varsity debut on the mound.

“I know Colby being a freshman and getting his first start at home there were some anxious times and over-thinking things and trying to throw strikes,” Smith said. “He had five pitches with two outs just like that [to open the game] and then things kind of got away from him, but he rebounded well. He finished strong and we cut him off right where his pitch limit was today.”

Clarke County has allowed just one run through its first two games. Offensively, the Eagles have outscored their opponents by a combined 24-1 margin (Clarke beat Handley 21-1 on Tuesday) in the first two games. Defensively, Clarke has played two error-free games.

“Overall, it was a great game and both teams played hard and played well,” Mike Smith said. “It was one of those games where somebody was going to win it late, and we were lucky enough to have that happen.”

The only unlucky break for the Eagles came when senior first baseman Colt Webb exited the game with a hamstring injury after making a stretch for the third out of the second inning.

Smith said Webb (1-0), the Eagles’ No. 1 pitcher, would not pitch in today’s game against Luray and did not know the extent of Webb’s injury following the game.

“Colt Webb getting hurt there was pretty big, but we were still able to stick it out and come out with the victory,” Bloomingdale said. “Colby did a great job starting off in his first varsity pitching performance, and then Sam coming in in relief — they just did excellent. Without them, we probably wouldn’t have had a victory like we did.”

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