Prep baseball: Anderson, Patriots end two-game skid
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington baseball Coach Chad Campbell doesn't believe he's asking too much for his players to think about how every pitch in every at-bat affects the game situation.
He gives one example of positive execution during the Patriots' 8-5 victory over Winfield (7-8) on Wednesday at Floyd B. Wilcox Field.
"When Carson (Whiting) got up, we had runners at the corners and the infield still drawn in right there," said Campbell, speaking of his sophomore pinch-hitter who came to the plate in the fifth when George Washington held a two-run lead. "We've been preaching to these guys all the time to know what the count is, and now Carson has two strikes. You're trying to hit the ball through the infield and drive the run in. He finally shortens up, gets the bat on the ball and gives us a three-run lead.
"That was probably the most important at-bat of the game for us."
Whiting's RBI gave GW a three-run cushion just before Winfield loaded the bases in the seventh inning, putting the tying run on first base instead of second when a single would have scored him.
The victory ended a two-game slide for George Washington (9-5), which, like many other teams, still is looking for its stride after the recent boon of good weather.
George Washington had been something of an enigma to Campbell, who is in his eighth season.
The Patriots' season-opening five-game winning streak was buoyed by a 15-0 whipping at the hands of Cabell Midland. Four losses in their next seven games was capped by an 11-10 defeat to Capital on Tuesday in which GW led 4-0 and 10-8 and committed six errors.
On Wednesday, GW - which reached the State Tournament in 2008 - was without three starters.
Sophomore Jeff Wong was ill, Connor Moffatt sat out after suffering the effects of a concussion following a collision at home plate against Capital on Tuesday; and Garrett Vogelbach was ejected in the game against the Cougars.
Wong's status is unknown for the Patriots' next game - a 1 p.m. Friday home contest against Riverside in the Ed Carter Memorial Tournament. Moffatt is permitted to play Friday but won't be released to catch again until Tuesday, and Vogelbach can't play until the Patriots' second game of the tournament at 7 p.m. Friday against Hurricane.
"It's been a tough three days for us," Campbell said. "Monday, Tuesday and today (Wednesday) when I get a phone call from Jeff. But, I give credit to the guys who had to step up."
Enter sophomore Clayton Anderson, another interesting study for the Patriots who Campbell said has shown flashes of greatness at the plate.
He hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score the game's first run and hit a three-run homer in the third for a 4-0 GW lead. His fourth-inning double produced two runs and he completed his day with a catch in right field where he had to run from the gap in right center to the foul line near the GW batting cages.
Anderson has been moved around the lineup, but has experienced most of his success at the No. 3 spot. In eight games batting third, Anderson is batting 7-of-21 (.333) with both of his home runs and 16 of his team-high 19 RBI.
His plate approach, Anderson said, has him more relaxed, which has helped him produce. He has hit safely in five of the last six games, after going hitless in six of the first nine contests.
The Patriots struck out four times, but were caught looking only once. Anderson's sacrifice fly was on a 3-2 pitch.
"We preach it all the time," Campbell said. "When we hit in the cage, we call things out, like 'hit and run, hit the other way, drive him in from third, hit with two strikes, hit with a 3-2 count.'
"You have to understand the game. When you're in the batter's box, it's not just wail away all the time. Know the situation, do what you have to do to produce runs. It's not easy."
For the pitcher's part, GW starter Tanner Sorrells battled through some tough innings and a questionable fair call on a ground ball down the right field line to pitch a complete game and earn his fourth victory of the season.
He had eight strikeouts and three walks in the game, bringing his season total to 21 strikeouts and seven walks in 21 innings and an earned run average of 1.33.
John Bellomy had a triple and two RBI for Winfield, Bryan Bosley doubled in a run and Isaac Withrow contributed a run-scoring single. However, the No. 8 and No. 9 batters for Winfield were 1-for-5 with four strikeouts.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.