Mavs' bats warming up

Defending champs now 2-0
Mar. 21, 2013 @ 10:48 AM

Good pitching and defense carried Marvin Ridge through the Mavericks’ daunting non-conference schedule. Those elements still remain, but now the bats are starting to catch up.

The Mavericks (5-2 overall, 2-0 Southern Carolina Conference) belted 10 hits in Wednesday’s 6-1 win over Parkwood, and they’ve scored 15 runs in two wins over the Rebels (1-4, 0-2). In their first five games of the season, the Mavs scored just 14 runs (2.8 runs per game).
“It’s starting to come around,” Marvin Ridge coach Mark Mennitt said. “We’ve felt good about our defense and pitching all year. We’re starting to really swing the bats well.”
At the front of that resurgence is the front of the Mavericks’ lineup. The first three batters in Marvin Ridge’s lineup — Jacob Henderson, Jason Curtis and Derek Smith — combined to go 5-for-7 in Wednesday’s game. Smith got on base four times and Henderson scored three runs. Package that production with a pitching performance like the one sophomore Hunter Colonna gave Wednesday, and the Mavericks were too tough to beat.
Colonna allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings in his first SCC start. The 6-foot-3 lefty allowed six hits and struck out five, including three consecutive batters in the bottom of the fifth inning after Justin Williams opened the frame by hitting a first-pitch double to left-center field.
Parkwood again threatened in the bottom of the sixth, bringing the score to 5-1 after three consecutive singles from Jeremy Parker, Chris Beaver and Danny Edwards. Marvin Ridge went to its bullpen and turned to freshman Aaron Pilkington, who got out of the inning with a strikeout. Pilkington also pitched a perfect seventh inning, notching two more strikeouts.
“I felt good before the game, good during the game,” Colonna said. “I had faith in my teammates behind me and just wanted to put the ball in the strike zone.”
Williams and Beaver each had two hits for Parkwood. Williams’ fifth-inning double off the wall was the Rebels’ only extra base hit of the game.
Edwards, a senior, took the lost in his first start of the year after qualifying for the state 3A wrestling championship. His six-hit, four-strikeout effort in five innings had Parkwood coach Andrew Starnes optimistic.
“I thought he did really well,” Starnes said. “He kept them off-balance and threw the ball well. The thing is, against a team like Marvin Ridge, you can’t give them extra outs — and we made an error on the first play of the game. That’s something we’ve struggled with and something we have to correct.”
Today’s third game between the two teams is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Marvin Ridge.
Around the league
• Marvin Ridge isn’t the only team to get hot at the plate at the start of league play. Weddington (4-4, 2-0) hit double digits in both games against Sun Valley earlier this week, winning both contests.
In the first game of the series, Tuesday at Sun Valley, the Warriors belted four home runs. Two came from Chris Simpson, and Landon Kay also hit one. The final was a grand slam from junior Sean Collins in the 10th inning, cementing an 11-7 victory. The Spartans (2-5, 0-2) got a home run from Kenny Palmer in the bottom of the seventh to send it to extra innings.
On Wednesday, Weddington won 12-0, setting the stage for a potential sweep.
• Porter Ridge remained tied for first place in the SCC following two consecutive blowout wins over Anson County (0-7, 0-2). The Pirates (4-3, 2-0) won the opener, 9-1, then won Wednesday’s game in six innings, 13-3. Friday’s third game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Anson. The Pirates are undefeated on the road this year, and their two conference wins match all of last year’s total.
Southern Carolina Conference Standings
                                     SCC   OVERALL
                                     W  L   W  L               
Marvin Ridge                  2   0    5  2
Porter Ridge                   2   0    4  3
Weddington                    2   0    4  4
Sun Valley                      0   2    2  5
Parkwood                       0   2    1  4
Anson County                0   2    0  7
Tuesday’s games
Marvin Ridge 9, Parkwood 0
Weddington 11, Sun Valley 7 (10 inn.)
Porter Ridge 9, Anson County 1
Wednesday’s games
Marvin Ridge 6, Parkwood 1
Weddington 12, Sun Valley 0
Porter Ridge 13, Anson County 3 (6 inn.)
Thursday’s game
Weddington at Sun Valley, 5 p.m.
Friday’s game
Porter Ridge at Anson County, 4:30 p.m.
Parkwood at Marvin Ridge, 4:30 p.m.