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WINCHESTER — After starting the season with three straight losses, the James Wood High School baseball team seems to be back on the right track and ready to battle for postseason positioning and another opportunity to return to the state tournament.

Wood scored four unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning to erase an early two-run deficit and then held on for an important 5-3 victory over Millbrook to complete the season sweep of the Pioneers in Class 4 Northwestern District action.

Garett McAlexander worked six innings for the win, allowing three runs and seven hits. He walked two and hit one while striking out nine.

For the Colonels (5-5, 5-1 district) it was their fifth win in their last seven games and gets them to the .500 mark for the first time this season. James Wood is in third place in seven-team Region 4D North. The top four teams make the playoffs. It was the fourth straight loss for the Pioneers (2-11, 1-5).

"We had some great situational at bats tonight that led to a big inning," James Wood coach Adrian Pullen said. "Early we did well with two strikes, got a hit and got a run in when we needed it with two outs and later in the big inning with situational did some things that we need to do and that we work on every day in practice."

Wood jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to some clutch two-out hitting against Millbrook starter Micah George (five innings, five runs, three earned, eight hits, one walk, eight strikeouts).

With one out, Kemper Omps doubled to right field. With two outs, McAlexander helped himself out with a solid single to center to score Omps,

The Pioneers answered right back in their half of the first. Leadoff hitter Chase Ford singled and stole second. One out later, Brady Price ripped a sharp single to center that scored Ford and tied the game.

With the score still tied 1-1, the Pioneers scored a couple of runs in the third to grab their only lead of the night.

No. 9 hitter Andrew Henry started the rally with a single to left and took second when the ball was mishandled. Henry scored easily when Ford drilled a double to the left-center alley.

Hogan Newlin followed Ford with a bunt single and took second on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with no one out. An RBI groundout by Price made it 3-1, but McAlexander was able to retire the next two hitters to limit the damage.

James Wood took the lead for good with four runs in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of several Millbrook miscues.

Logan Bower led off the inning by reaching on an error and moving up on a wild pitch. Zach Woskobunik then reached when strike three went all the way to the backstop, and he stole second.

Coby Nesselrodt singled to left to make it 3-2. One out later, the Colonels got huge production from their No. 9 hitter. Sam Jackson worked the count and finally lined a hit to left, easily scoring Woskobunik to tie the game. But when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Nesselrodt scored to give the Colonels a 4-3 lead.

Jackson stole second and went to third on the third Pioneers' error of the inning and scored on John Copenhaver's sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

"It's finding a way to put seven innings together," Millbrook coach Brian Burke said. "The fourth inning definitely summarized how things have been going for us. We give them the extra out and we're just making mistakes whether it's mental or physical. We seem to have one inning where we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot and we're unable to recover.

"Then we start pressing offensively and not having good approaches to help make things better for ourselves. We're still searching for nine guys that have the confidence and the want-to attitude and the mindset that they can get the job done and that just goes with the inexperience of this club."

After the Newlin bunt single in the third, McAlexander settled in and retired the next eight hitters he faced, but the Pioneers still had their chances late.

With two outs in the fifth, Newlin reached on a walk and Price collected his second hit of the night, but McAlexander stranded both runners by retiring the next hitter. In the bottom of the sixth, Tanner Barb singled and Dylan Apfel walked, but McAlexander struck out the next two hitters to end the threat. Logan Bower closed the game with a scorelss seventh, allowing no hits, one walk and striking out a batter.

"Hats off to Coach Burke, he had his guys ready to play," Pullen said. "They haven't had a great season, but their kids fought, and they competed and that's all a coach can ask. As an opposing coach hats off to their players for showing the fortitude to come out and compete every day and do what they do."

Copenhaver and Omps lead the way for the Colonels with two hits each. Ford (double, RBI, run, stolen base) and Price (two RBIs) led the Pioneers with two hits apiece.

Millbrook travels to Fauquier for a non-district game Friday while the Colonels head to Front Royal for a matchup with Skyline.