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In 2012, the Patrick Henry baseball team began strong, but stumbled to a disappointing finish, ending with a first-round loss in the Colonial District tournament. The script was similar to begin 2013: A strong start. But the stumbling never came, and, though their season is now complete, the Patriots’ program took a huge step in the winning direction.
Patrick Henry was the only team to beat Douglas Freeman, the top-rated team in the Central Region, in the regular season, finished a strong third in the Colonial at 13-3, and righted their tournament wrong of a year ago with a 2-1 win Monday over Maggie Walker Governor’s School. Travis Powers pitched 6 1/3 innings for the victory. Chesdin Harrington, whose RBI double in the third drove in the eventual winning run, got the save.
“[Maggie Walker] gives us a run for our money every single time,” Powers said, admitting he was disappointed not being able to pitch the complete game. “Coach [Sam Hart] is in touch with the team, and I trust Coach, so it’s all good.”
Powers only gave up two hits, striking out six. The Green Dragons lost three meetings with Patrick Henry this season, each by just one run.
The Patriots took advantage of two Maggie Walker errors in the second to plate one, as courtesy runner Carson Stone scored on Joe Buehren’s RBI groundout. Maggie Walker scored their run in the fifth. Zach Allen walked to start the inning. His courtesy runner, Tyler Walker, scored when Nathan Berry singled to center with two out.
The play of the game took place in seventh, when Powers walked two with one out, prompting the pitching change. Kyle Trapp singled up the middle, and Patriots center fielder A.J. Hart came up firing. His bullet to home plate was actually overthrown, but catcher Joe Bugas made a leaping grab, then recovered to tag Allen out at the plate, negating what would have been the tying run. A Berry groundout ended the threat, and the game.
The win advanced Patrick Henry to the Colonial District semifinals Tuesday and another chance to knock off Mills Godwin, who swept the Patriots in the regular season to finish second in the district. In a battle of two first team All-District pitchers, Patrick Henry’s Kyle Palmer battled Godwin’s Aaron McGarity. In the end, McGarity survived, going the distance to fan 16 Patriots en route to a nail-biting 5-4 victory to end the Patriots’ season. Palmer made it to the fourth inning before being pulled for Harrington. The Patriots had the tying runner on base in the sixth, but couldn’t come through.
Patrick Henry ends 2013 at 14-4 in the Colonial with three losses at the hands of Mills Godwin and one to Douglas Freeman. Though they lose six seniors, including Palmer, Bugas, Nathan Steele, and Andrew Strong, a strong nucleus will return. With talent coming from JV, it is safe to say Coach Hart’s return to the diamond in Ashland was a big success, with the future bright as their era in the Colonial District comes to an end.