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March 28, 2012
By Jerry Holsworth
Special to The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER- James Wood took advantage of several untimely errors by Millbrook and clutch pitching by Addison Barber to topple the Pioneers 5-2 Tuesday in Northwestern District baseball.

"We've had a tendency to start a little slow, but we didn't do that tonight," said Colonels coach Jared Mounts. "We got on them early, and I was really proud of the guys for that. We were 0-1 [in district play] coming into this game and we've still got a long way to go, but it's good to win like this."

After giving up a single to Millbrook (3-2, 1-2 Northwestern District) leadoff hitter Jacob Jaye to begin the game, Barber pitched no-hit baseball until the sixth inning, mowing down Pioneer batters at will.

"Addison did a great job tonight," Mounts said. "He worked ahead of his hitters. He was getting a little tired late in the game, but he battled the entire way. We also played pretty good defense behind him too."

The Colonel junior also registered seven strikeouts over the same period, leaving Millbrook with few opportunities to put runners on base, much less score runs. He was also helped by great play in the field behind him.

James Wood (4-3, 1-1) committed only one error, and that came in the sixth inning with the Colonels up 5-0.

"My mentality out there was to just go at them," Barber said. "We're taught that the most important pitch is the first strike, and I tried to get that strike as soon as I could in the count. Even if I got behind in the count, I'm determined not to let it get to my head."

Pioneer starting pitcher Lane Spinks also had a good night on the mound, giving up five runs on four hits over seven innings. The Millbrook senior struck out four Colonel batters and walked just one.

He was handicapped, however, by three critical Millbrook errors that resulted in all five of James Wood's runs being unearned.

"We're very pleased with Lane's performance tonight," Pioneer coach Brian Burke said. "But it's just the same old story. We just don't seem to be able to make plays on defense. We just look bad defensively. Barber kept us off balance, but some of it had to do with the fact that we have to get better at the plate."

After a scoreless first inning, the Colonels took advantage of two of those errors to jump ahead 4-0 in the second. Scott Zerull led off the inning for James Wood with a single to left, and advanced to second after Neal Cybulski's bunt was fielded by Spinks and thrown high to first.

James Wood's next batter, Jordan Iden, also bunted. The Pioneer third basemen attempted to get Zerull out at third, but threw high and the ball sailed into left field, scoring Zerull and sending Zach Webster, who was running for Cybulski, to third.

That set the stage for Kyle Hevner, who tripled to deep right field, scoring Webster and Iden. Dakota Orndorff got Hevner home with a single up the middle.

Wood added another run in the third inning thanks to a Millbrook miscue.

A. J. Eubank led off the inning by advancing to first after being hit by Spinks, then advanced to third after another Millbrook error on a grounder by Zerull. Eubank scored from third on a ground out by Iden to put the Colonels up 5-0 after three innings.

The Pioneers were finally able to get on the scoreboard in the sixth thanks to a tiring Barber and James Wood's only error of the game.

Matt Fazenbaker led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Barber on a grounder by Ethan Mathews. Ryan Hartigan got Fazenbaker home with a single to shallow right field.

Spinks scored Laith Abunasser, who was running for Mathews, with a sacrifice fly to right, narrowing the Colonels' lead to 5-2 with just one more inning to play.

Wood looked as though it was going to expand off its lead in its half of the seventh, loading the bases with one out. But a strikeout by Spinks and a ground out by Zerull got the Pioneers out of the inning without any further damage.

Orndorff replaced Barber to begin the seventh and the sophomore proved to be a solid relief pitcher. Allowing just one hit during the inning, Orndorff also struck out two Millbrook batters to preserve the win for the Colonels.

"Dakota is a very good player for us," Mounts said. "He's been hitting the ball well too. He a great young man and plays several positions for us, and plays them well. We want our guys to go out there and play with passion, and play between your ears too. I thought we did that tonight."