By David Wagner
Western Albemarle’s varsity baseball team continued their hot start, winning seven straight to begin the season. Their first loss of the 2015 campaign came at the hands of the Spotswood Trailblazers, whom they had previously beaten. In the first match-up between the two teams the Warriors cruised to a 13-5 win behind five Trailblazer errors. The tables turned in their second meeting as Western had an atypical showing, struggling in all facets of the game and committing five errors of their own, leading to a 13-4 defeat. The Warriors bounced back from the Spotswood loss winning three of their next four games to run their season record to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the Jefferson District, placing them at the top of the pack.
Western followed up the Spotswood loss with a resounding 14-3 win over Charlottesville High School April 21. Chris Hughes went three-for-three at the plate with three RBI. Steve Mangrum added a three-run homer and Sam Hearn gave up just two hits, while striking out four to give him a 3-0 record on the mound.
Two days later, the Warriors put together their best total team effort of the season in a contest against archrival Monticello High School. Derek Domecq pitched a complete game with six strikeouts. Mangrum was three-for-three with four runs scored and an RBI. Henry Kreienbaum went four-for-four with three RBI and Dylan Weiss made several rally-killing plays at shortstop to go along with an inside-the-park homerun in the sixth inning to help seal the 8-4 win.
The Warriors stayed sharp in their next outing, beating the Powhatan High School Indians for the second time this season behind a magnificent pitching performance from Josh Casteen. Casteen struck out four of the six Indian batters en route to a one-run, eight-strikeout showing and a 2-1 Warrior win. Kreienbaum continued his clutch hitting with an RBI single in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1. Later in the seventh with the game still tied, Kreienbaum led off with a triple and scored the game winner. After Powhatan intentionally walked the next two batters to load the bases and set up the force play, Harrison Lund laced a single into right field for the walk-off game-winning hit.
The Warriors suffered their second loss of the season against Louisa County High School April 30. Western took the lead 2-1 in the fourth when Lund doubled to drive in Kreienbaum once again and then scored on Domecq’s fielder’s choice for the lead. Louisa answered in the fifth with two runs of their own to recapture the lead, 3-2, and held on for the win.
Western played two more games earlier this week at Orange and at Albemarle that were too late for this edition. But they have a busy week ahead of them. The Warriors will have a four-game home stand starting with Waynesboro Friday May 8, Fluvanna on May 12, CHS on May 14, and Albemarle on May 15. All games start at 6 p.m. This four-game stretch is likely to have a huge impact on the final district standings, so come out and support the home team.