Chargers top Statesmen, fall to Eagles

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It has been years since Central High School’s varsity baseball team has defeated Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte Court House, but the Chargers snapped that losing streak March 27, pulling ahead for good in the ninth inning of play to defeat the Statesmen 6-5.

“It’s a big win because they’re always a very strong team, and … it’s very difficult to play there against them,” Central Head Coach Michael Atkins said of the Statesmen and Bankston Field. “So, hats off to them, but hats off to our kids too for standing up strong and playing well there this year. Hopefully we can do that again when we face them at home.”

Atkins described the night as an emotionally draining one that was also mentally and physically taxing. “Both teams that particular night were fired up and ready,” he said.

“Both teams played extremely hard. Both pitchers pitched their tails off. It was a battle.”

Chargers senior Ethan Hoover pitched all the way through the eighth inning before senior Christian Hall relieved him.

The game was tied 1-1 from the first inning until the top of the seventh inning when Central went up 4-1.

Atkins said the Chargers thought they would be able to put the game away then, but the Statesmen came back in the bottom of the seventh to tie things up, 4-4.

“It was real important how we were going to respond in that situation, especially being on the road,” Atkins said. “So I was real proud of our guys, the way they kept their heads up, and they kept fighting. Then finally in the top of the ninth, we went ahead 6-4.”

But Randolph-Henry threatened again.

“They had bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, and we were able to find our way out of it — made a play defensively, had two strikeouts and got out of it to win the game,” Atkins said. “So, it was extremely exciting for the kids.”

He noted that offensively, Central was fueled by the first five batters in its lineup: senior L.J. Watson, senior Nate Nowlin, Hall, Hoover and senior Jeffrey Goodwin Jr.

The Chargers (4-1) could not maintain the level of desire and mental toughness to defeat host Prince Edward on Thursday, when they fell 2-1, but they still have significant positive momentum going into Friday’s home game against Appomattox.