Mechanicsville Post 175 head coach Bobby White had this stark assessment following their worst performance of the year, losing 11-0 Tuesday to Lakeside Post 125 at Douglas Freeman High School.
“Tonight had everything to do with our energy, our focus we brought to tonight’s game, which was zero,” he said.
The loss evens the two teams atop the District 11 standings with records of 6-2.
It wasn’t even close.
Post 125 starter Chase McPherson, a J.R. Tucker graduate and commit to Longwood University, stymied Post 175 all night, allowing just five hits in an 89-pitch performance. But both McPherson himself, and White, didn’t think the standout pitcher was even at his best.
“I was just trying to hit my spots, change my speeds,” McPherson said. “I guess I kept them guessing.”
“We never made an adjustment to him,” White explained. “He threw the same pitches all night long, he was the same pitcher all night long. We hit one ball hard all night.”
The box score is filled with groundouts and popouts, especially to the right side of the infield. The closest Post 175 got to having a runner at third was in the first inning, when McPherson caught Jakob Pridemore leaning too far off second, getting him caught in a rundown.
Lakeside, meanwhile, pounded Mechanicsville starter Joey Pride, racing to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Four came in the first, as rising Randolph-Macon sophomore Jordan Schmeer began the frame reaching base on a throwing error from shortstop Josh Shepherd, went to third on a Sam Cox double, then scored on Randy Neisz’s sacrifice fly to right.
Schmeer scored again in the second. After being hit by a Pride pitch, Cox singled to load the bases. Andrew Mullen scored when Pride walked Neisz. Two batters later, Schmeer scored on a Carter Walker sacrifice fly.
Pride lasted just 2 1/3 innings, allowed seven runs and eight hits.
The game’s conclusion was a microcosm of the night. After Post 175 was easily retired in order in the top of the eighth, Mullen singled off reliever Thomas Renfro to lead the bottom of the inning for Post 125. Schmeer walked, then Cox singled.
Neisz approached the plate, battled through the at-bat, then slammed a shot over the left-center field fence for a grand slam to close it out.
Lakeside was the opposite of Mechanicsville, full of life, fighting for the first-place tie. McPherson said it was a very important victory.
“We’re tied for first place now,” McPherson said. “After losing to (West End Post) 361, knowing 361 had beaten Mechanicsville, getting this win is a really good confidence booster.”
Post 175, on the other hand, will rest and regroup before taking the field again Saturday at 3 p.m. in Colonial Heights against the Post 284 Pirates, who defeated Post 361 Tuesday 6-5 in 10 innings to move to 5-3, just a game behind both Lakeside and Mechanicsville in the District 11 standings.
The challenges don’t stop with the district tournament looming in two weeks. But White was quick to make a definitive promise for Saturday.
“We’re going to start playing the game a bit differently on Saturday,” White noted. “You’ll see a change in the way 175 takes the field.”