Williams’ three-run homer helps New Kent trip Bruton
Jake Williams’ three-run homer in the second inning overcame a 2-0 Bruton Panther lead.
Then pitching plus defense did the rest as New Kent’s host Trojans held on for 5-4 Bay Rivers District baseball win.
For Williams, the blast was his second in two days at the Trojans’ new baseball complex. The day before, he christened the facility with the first shot to leave the park during a rout of Jamestown.
Last Wednesday’s win at Bruton’s expense upped New Kent’s record to 9-10. The Trojans are battling two other teams to land the sixth and final seeded spot in this week’s district tournament.
“This was a good win for us, especially against [Mark] Montgomery,” New Kent coach Ronnie Cox said, pointing to the Panthers’ pitcher.
“He’s an outstanding pitcher and was throwing 88 miles per hour,” Cox said. “When we learned we’d be facing him, we knew we’d have to play hard to beat him.”
Montgomery’s teammates, meanwhile, handed him a 2-0 lead in the second inning, smacking three hits off Trojan starter B.J. Fox with the key single a two-run line drive into right field off the bat of Nate Diakun.
After giving up an infield single in the first, Montgomery began firing pitches past Trojan batters, striking out three in a row before facing Fox with two down in the second. Montgomery got a third strike on Fox, but a passed ball enabled Fox to sprint safely to first base.
The miscue opened the door for the Trojans. The next batter, Joey Bell, beat out an infield hit to put runners at first and second. Williams followed, jumping on Montgomery’s first offering and driving the ball over the left field fence.
“Jake’s home run gave us the lead and a lift,” Cox said. “It was a great shot.”
After surviving Bruton’s second inning surge, Fox handcuffed Bruton batters over the next four frames. New Kent, meanwhile, added a run in the fifth as Adam Otey singled and scored on Jake Jones’ single. The Trojans upped their advantage to 5-2 in the sixth as Al Hammill reached base on an error and scored on Bell’s single to center.
“B.J. as a senior pitched well and kept us in the game,” Cox said. “After that second inning, he settled down and that was the key to us winning.”
But Fox ran into trouble in the seventh and final frame, walking the first two batters he faced. Cox elected to replace Fox on the mound with Steven Allen.
Allen got the next batter to bounce back to the mound, resulting in a force out at second base. But Daikun, who delivered back in the second, came through again with a triple into the right-center field gap to narrow the deficit to 5-4.
New Kent, however, benefited from a botched squeeze play designed to score Diakun for the tying run. Pinch hitter Ryan Smith missed on a bunt attempt as Diakun broke for the plate. Diakun put on the brakes midway home, but Williams from his catcher’s spot easily caught the Panther runner for the second out. Allen then fanned Smith for the save.
“We’ve won eight of our last 11 games,” Cox said. “The kids have been playing really well and have done a good job.”