Meridian explodes in fifth inning, eliminates New Kent from baseball state tournament
New Kent High School’s baseball team began the tough task of capturing a state championship Tuesday afternoon as they hosted the Meridian Mustangs. But one thing the Trojans learned, is that nothing is ever given, and the miscues against the Mustangs was a wrong time to learn that lesson.
Meridian overpowered New Kent 9-4, ending the season of the Trojans at 21-3.
The visitors were able to take advantage in the top of the first inning. Singles by Jack Flanagan and Thomas Downs allowed clean-up hitter Alex Lacroix base knock that drove two runs home to provide the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
New Kent would get on the board in the bottom of the second inning. With the bases loaded for the hosts, Thomas Wilson’s patience at the plate drew a walk, allowing Tyler Warren to trot across home plate for the first run. A combination of an error and fielder’s choice courtesy of Daniel Colgin’s connection tied the game at two apiece as the teams transitioned into the third inning.
New Kent gained their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third. However, that advantage would only last two innings as the Mustangs scored two runs to return in control of the game (4-3) after RBI singles by Patrick McDonald and Jackson Pierce.
New Kent had an opportunity to escape out the inning on a double play. Meridian’s Grant Greiner’s grounder started what is usually a routine play. But Greiner was ruled safe after the umpire determined Michael Hetzel’s foot was off the bag, adding another run to the Mustangs’ total. Meridian piled on four more runs to take a 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Carson Seely’s single drove in New Kent’s additional run in hopes to start a rally. But force and fly outs were enough to end the Trojans’ season and allow Meridian to advance to the state semifinals.
After the contest, New Kent Trojans Head Coach Trevor Ronan talked about his team and the performance of his eight departing seniors.
“I am proud of these kids and they played their hearts out and did not give up on each other,” he commented. “These kids showed up everyday to practice and gave me everything I asked for.
“We had some mental mistakes today and that is baseball,” Ronan added. “I know they are sad now, but those who are returning will come back and be ready to get at it next year.”