Napolitano, Kaden Lead “Burg, 2-0
By Mark Beepler, Special Correspondent
Photo by Michael Reilly
Daily News Record
HARRISONBURG – At 105 pitches after seven innings, Harrisonburg starting pitcher Connor Kaden wasn’t coming back out for the eighth, and his decision hung in the balance as his offense had yet to muster any run support.
Luckily, help was on the way.
Third baseman and Wake Forest teammate Joe Napolitano’s two-out RBI single broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh, allowing Kaden to pick up his second straight win as the Turks defeated Front Royal 2-0 Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park for their fourth win in a row.
“It felt good, especially with him being a teammate of mine back at school,” Napolitano said. “He’s a great kid, a great pitcher and he had good stuff all night. It was awesome to see him get a win because I think he pitched his butt off.”Both Kaden and Napolitano are sophomores at Wake Forest.
Neither offense could break through in the first six innings, a credit to Kaden and Front Royal starter Dalton Potts, a junior from Tennessee-Martin. Kaden allowed four hits in his seven innings of work, and Potts gave up five hits in a complete-game loss. The game took just two hours even, with neither team committing an error.
The Turks rallied with three consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore second baseman Thomas Smith doubled to right field and scored on Napolitano’s single.
“It was a changeup away, and I was trying to stay up the middle with it and not do too much,” Napolitano said. “We were trying to break through all night and finally did when Smitty hit one to right, hustled into second, and it just came together after that.”
Sophomore Eric Kalbfleisch followed with a single to left, scoring Napolitano before he was cut down at second base to end the inning, trying to stretch it into a double.
Turks sophomore Logan Onda pitched two hitless innings to earn his first save of the year. He retired the first five Front Royal hitters he faced before sophomore Jamal Clarke drew a two-out walk in the ninth. Onda needed just one pitch to erase pinch-hitter Justin Anderson on a groundball to short, sending Harrisonburg to 9-5 and dropping the Cardinals to 6-8.
“We got great pitching from Connor again, and it was a really well-played game from both teams,” said Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease. “We’re playing good baseball right now, and the kids are really playing hard, which I appreciate.”
Front Royal 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
Harrisonburg 000 000 20x – 2 5 0
Potts and Murphy; Kaden, Onda (8) and Nichols. W—Kaden (2-0). L—Potts (2-1). S—Onda (1).