Sweep! Generals rally late in opener, nightcap to take two from rival Braves

A three-run sixth-inning homer by Julian Ridings gave Waynesboro a 6-3 win over Staunton in game one, and a walkoff bases-loaded single by JoJo Woods in the bottom of the seventh gave the Generals a come-from-behind 5-4 win to complete a Friday-night sweep.

Both games were nip-and-tuck battles that began as pitchers’ duels and featured late-inning heroics from each side. In game one, Staunton scored two runs in the top of the sixth – each game was scheduled for seven innings – on a one-out, two-run double by Ricky Santiago to tie the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Rob Amaro led off with a walk, and Bradley Noland reached on a bunt single to put runners and first and second with nobody out. Woods, pinch-running for Amaro, took off for third on a 1-0 pitch to Ridings, who had shown bunt on the first pitch from reliever Tyler Smith, swung away at a high outside fastball and hit the ball out to straightaway left.

Josh Bullock notched his fifth save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.

Cody Allbright (1-0) got the win in relief. Starter Devin Smith went five innings, giving up a run on two hits, striking out four and walking two.

Brett Schreiber (2-1) took the loss in game one for Staunton.

In game two, Waynesboro got on the board early. Ridings tripled with one out in the first, and came home on a two-out RBI single by Brandon Murray to give the Generals a 1-0 lead.

The Braves tied the game at 1 in the third when Ben Verlander reached on an infield hit, stole second and third, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly to center by Blake Sipe.

Ridings appeared to hit a homer to left-center field in the bottom of the third, but the ball hit a tree beyond the fence and bounded back into the field of play, and the play was ruled a ground-rule double. Ridings was stranded at second, but the Generals did come back two innings later with a pair of RBI singles by Murray and Brandon Glazer to take a 3-1 lead.

Staunton answered with three runs in the sixth, the big blow coming off the bat of Santiago, who doubled down the left-field line with the bases loaded to score two runs. The Generals did get a key out on the play, though, when Caleb Palensky cut down Kenny Jackson at home trying to score a third run, leaving the game at 4-3 Staunton.

It would remain that way into the bottom of the seventh. Staunton closer Paul Mittura (2-2) hit Murray with a 2-2 pitch to lead off the inning, and Glazer followed with an infield single to give the Generals runners at first and second and nobody out. Murray advanced to third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Amaro to give Waynesboro runners at the corners and one out. Jacob Hoyle walked to load the bases, and pinch-hitter Ryan Breen walked to force in the tying run.

Woods batted with the Braves playing their infield and outfield in all the way around. He worked the count to 3-2 before stroking a liner to deep right field that scored Glazer from third base with the winning run.

Hoyle (2-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Adam Curtis, who had limited the Braves to a run on two hits through five innings before getting touched up for the threespot in the sixth.

The sweep lifts the Generals back into first place in the South Division by percentage points over second-place Harrisonburg.

The wins give Waynesboro a 6-0 record against their rivals from Staunton in 2012. The Generals have won 145of the last 16 against Staunton dating back to the 2011 season.

The two teams square off again Saturday night in Staunton.

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press