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Kempsville gets defensive in taking Beach tournament title
Kempsville uses defense in taking Beach title
By Jeff Cunningham | firstname.lastname@example.org
VIRGINIA BEACH -- If ESPN's Baseball Tonight covered high schools, then Kempsville would've likely taken all five Web Gem spots.
Offense was lacking, but the Chiefs used sound and at-times spectacular defense to hold off Bayside 3-2 in eight innings Thursday night at Landstown High School. Kempsville, the tournament's No. 4 seed, earned the district's second Eastern Region bid with the victory.
"I gotta ask, how much defense can we play out there?" Chiefs coach Paul Shows said. "I'm so proud of all these guys, especially our seniors. My seniors won a whole five games two years ago, so this is especially gratifying for them."
Matt Efland walked with one out in the bottom of the eighth and moved to second on a walk to Neil Ramirez. Then, Bayside's Michael Wiley committed an error, allowing Efland to score and the Chiefs to mob him in jubilation at home plate.
"I saw the ball hit the ground and I was just gone," Efland said. "Coach (Shows) was probably saying something to me, but I couldn't hear ... it was all or nothing, and I was going for it all."
Still, were it not for Kempsville's defense, there might not have been an eighth inning at all. Bayside's James Shahada tripled with one out in the top of the seventh, and tagged from thrid when Wiley hit a fly ball to medium-depth right field.
But right fielder Casey Hassell threw a rocket to the plate, well in time to tag out the sliding Shahada.
"I made sure I got myself good and wound up for throwing," Hassell said. "He was not going to score on me."
Though Ramirez went homerless for the first time in the tournament, he saved a potential homer in the top of the eighth. After D.J. Stallworth walked and stole second, Zaine Jack rocked a fly ball to deep left field. Ramirez kept drifting back, and with each step it appeared the ball might clear the fence.
Ramirez stopped at the wall, raised his glove and caught the ball -- a 330-foot can of corn.
"I have to be honest," Ramirez said. "I kinda thought that ball was gone. But I was going after it regardless; I would've jumped the fence if I had to."
Three more diving catches -- pitcher Steven Murphy on a bunt from Chris Warren in the fourth, a shallow fly ball
from Shahada that center fielder Anthony Burchett dove straight in on, and second baseman Jake Alexander taking an up-the-middle single away from Wil Armitstad -- punctuated the night for the Chiefs.
"Kempsville just made some great plays tonight," Marlins coach Jason Hatcher said. "Hats off to Kempsville tonight ... we made errors and they didn't."
Kempsville (18-5) struck first, when Steven Murphy singled Efland home in the first inning.
Bayside, the No. 7 seed, then took a 2-1 lead in the third when Jack rocked a two-run double to the center-field fence. The Marlins (10-12) appeared to have the game in control from there, with left-handed starter John DesChamps striking out three in 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball.
But DesChamps lost his command in the fifth, giving up back-to-back walks to Hassell and Murphy before being taken out for right-hander Ryan Davis. Kempsville tied the game at two later in the inning when Stallworth dropped a fly ball in right field that would've ended the inning, allowing Hassell to score.
"We had to take it to the next level tonight, and we did," Shows said. "We had pitchers laying it out there, we had guys gunning the ball in, guys robbing home runs ... just so much good feeling going on here tonight."
The win gives Kempsville the Beach District's No. 2 seed going into the Eastern Region baseball tournament, which will be held May 28, 30 and 31 at Old Dominion University. Cox, despite losing in the semifinals, retains the district's top seed by virtue of winning the regular season.
Kempsville will play Southeastern District champion Great Bridge at 7 p.m. on May 28, while Cox will face Hickory at 1 p.m.
"We were pumped even before we got here," Hassell said. "It was our goal from day one: get to ODU. That's it, just get to ODU.
"Anything less would've been a disappointment."
BEACH DISTRICT BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP at Landstown High School
Kempsville 3, Bayside 2, 8 innings
Bayside 002 000 00 2 5 5
Kempsville 100 010 01 3 5 2
Standouts -- Kempsville, Ramirez 1-3 (double, 2 walks), Alexander 2-3 (2 singles, run, walk); Bayside, Jack 1-4 (2-run double), Bussey 2-3 (2 singles, run). Records -- Kempsville 18-5, Bayside 10-12.
Last edited by dsquires : 05-25-2007 at 12:06 AM.
Re: Kempsville gets defensive in taking Beach tournament title
Great job Bayside Marlins... You boys had the potential and skills to win every game this year... Keep you heads high...
Good luck next year...
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