Sherando's bats remain hot in baseball win over James Wood

By JIM LAISE Special To The Winchester Star Apr 4, 2019

WINCHESTER — James Wood scored the first two runs in Thursday’s Class 4 Northwestern District baseball clash against Sherando.

The hot-swinging Warriors took care of the rest. Led by Michael Usa’s four hits and four RBIs, Sherando scored 17 unanswered runs in a 17-2 romp against the Colonels at R. Charles Hott Field on Thursday.

Hunter Entsminger and Jared Tinsman combined on a five-hitter as the Warriors improved to 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the district. James Wood dropped to 3-5, 1-2.

The Warriors, who entered the contest averaging more than 11 runs per game, continued to pound opposing pitching.

During its six straight victories, the Warriors have scored 84 runs while allowing 14 (nine of those came in an 18-9 win over rival Millbrook last Friday).

“Hitting is a funny thing,” said Sherando coach Pepper Martin after the 2 hour, 45-minute game. “If one guy gets in a slump, it can affect him. Then it moves on. So, you’ve got to work on that.

“The thing we worked on during winter conditioning was finding your best pitch to hit and just try to put it in play,” Martin added. “That’s one thing we’ve improved on from last year, we’re swinging at better pitches. And, then, when we get runners on base, we’re driving them in.”

Usa has been the ring-leader. The senior went 4-for-5 (including two doubles) on Thursday and is now hitting .600 on the season. Usa, with 19 RBIs, has driven in a run in every game and has multiple RBIs in all but one game.

“I think, if anything, maybe we were trying to hit too many home runs last year,” said Usa, who scored four runs. “Or, maybe we were being impatient and pressing. Coach Martin got all that straightened out in the offseason and it’s paying off.”

Entsminger, the James Madison recruit, benefited from the onslaught after a shaky start. The hard-throwing right-hander would allow four hits, strike out 10 and walk two in five innings.

“I mean, what can you say? They scored two runs in their half of the first and we answer with seven,” Entsminger said. “How can you not pitch well when you have that kind of backup?”

The young Colonels (3-5, 1-2) also helped the Sherando cause with eight errors.

James Wood freshman Jaden Ashby and sophomore Jayden Nixon each picked up two hits against Entsminger.

Ashby led off the bottom of the first with a single and stole second base. He came home on Hayden Cunningham’s double. Nixon scored Cunningham with a single.

“I’m not sure it’s anything we really did or didn’t do, but it was them,” Martin said. “They came ready to swing, found some pitches and got things going.”

But in the top of the second, Sherando’s bats got busy.

Usa doubled to center and then Cameron Mintz moved Usa to third with a single of his own. An error on an infield ball hit by Sherando’s Jared Tinsman got Usa home and moved Mintz to third.

With the bases loaded, James Wood committed two errors, accounting for three more Sherando runs.

From there both Nick Mazza and Jack Duvall got on base safely and a double by Payne Bauer (3-for-4, two runs scored) brought in Mazza. Entsminger sacrificed home Duvall from third and the Warriors led 7-2.

After James Wood starting pitcher Aden Payne blanked Sherando in the third, the Warriors added three runs in the fourth.

Bauer reached on a single. Entsminger then hit a towering fly ball that a Wood outfielder misplayed for a three-base error. Usa then singled Entsminger home. Mintz plated Usa to make it 10-2.

After the first, Entsminger blanked the Colonels. He struck out seven over his final three innings of work.

“Once he settles down he’s hard to hit,” Martin said, “I think the big thing about him today was that he was able to change location with is pitches and throw all four of them [fastball, curve, slider and changeup] for strikes.”

“My changeup. I think that’s what worked best for me today,” said Entsminger. “It seemed like that’s the one most people struck out on.”

Tinsman allowed just one hit and struck out two over the final two innings.

“Right now, we’ve got to keep battling,” James Wood coach Brent Lockhart said of his young squad. “We’re young, but that’s no excuse for the number of errors we had. We’ll keep working and hopefully show up when we go over there.

“We scored some runs and did some things early, but honestly, when you have as many errors as we did against maybe the best team we’ve played, you can’t expect to win.”

Bauer and Mintz finished with three hits each for the Warriors.