Chargers apply pressure throughout, top Newsome
By Jarrett Guthrie
DOVER – Newsome’s third-inning score was quickly answered by host Strawberry Crest as the Chargers built a lead and kept adding to it in a 6-2 win over the Wolves in Saturday’s early-evening tilt of the Saladino Baseball Tournament.
Newsome (3-5) broke open a stalemate in the third with Matt Giles (2-for-3) delivering a leadoff single and eventually scoring on an error. From there, the Wolves loaded the bases on Crest starter Bryan Boully and Chargers coach Eric Beattie made the move to reliever Luke Richardson, who has been impressive in the role all season.
That trend continued Saturday as Richardson got a quick out to end the threat before working parts of the next three more innings, spinning in a fastball, circle change and curveball successfully and earning his second win of the season.
“When I came in, it was all about getting a pop fly or groundball and keeping those runs from getting in,” Richardson said. “After that we kept scoring, so I pounded the zone doing what I could to keep our team amped up and put pressure on them.”
Cristian Bolt’s RBI sac fly and Arjun Nimmala’s smashed RBI double gave the Chargers the lead in the third and Strawberry Crest (9-1) kept adding on.
“Their pitcher was throwing a lot of curveballs to our hitters so I went to the plate with the mindset of adjusting to a curve, but I wanted to make sure I could still see a fastball,” Nimmala said. “He threw me a first pitch curveball for a strike, so I expected it the next pitch, stayed back and drove it to get that run in.”
Ray Allen Vasquez doubled in the fourth and Alex Mussenden made a pinch-hitting appearance after nearly two weeks on the shelf with a hamstring strain, slapping an RBI single to left center to score the eventual winning run.
Zach Redner’s second single of the game added another run an inning late, and Ethan Pues drove in a couple with his second single in the sixth.
“Late-game hitting means you have to sit back and stay relaxed,” Pues said. “You can’t get out of your zone, make sure you are as focused as you are at the start of the game, and get it done.”
The importance of those late hits and runs were not lost on the winning pitcher.
“I always think that’s big because it is tough to go back out there with just one or two runs of a lead,” Richardson said. “It’s the Saladino Tournament. Everybody is trying to get that first win, go undefeated, win it all, so getting those late (run-scoring) hits is putting that final nail in a coffin and saying, ‘we’re about to beat you.’”
Redner worked the final 1 1/3 striking out three, and Newsome added a late score as Evan Wainman doubled in a run in a solid game from the junior, where he was 3-for-3, with a walk and pair of stolen bases.
Winning a coin toss Saturday evening, the Chargers will host Plant City (winners over Gaither on Saturday) at 7 p.m. on Monday, while Newsome plays Gaither at PC at 10 a.m.
Strawberry Crest 6
N 001|000|1 – |2|8|4
SC 002|112|x – |6|9|1
W – Richardson (3-0); L – Weber.
2B – Wainman (N); Fanning, Nimmala, Vazquez (SC). Records – N (3-5); SC (9-1).