By: Scoop Carter
ATV-60 Sports Correspondent
NEW MARKET- Playing with their post season lives hanging in the balance New Market rode the right arm of Steve Owens (Richmond) to a season saving 9-3 victory over Covington Friday night in Valley Baseball League action. The win over the Lumberjacks coupled with the losses by
both Harrisonburg and Haymarket earlier in the day, kept the Rebels mathematically alive with three games to play in the VBL season.
Owens (2-4) fell behind 2-0 after two innings but appeared to pick up steam after the shaky start.
"He didn't allow a base hit after the second inning," Rebel pitching coach Rick Smith said. "It's not to often that you can pitch around five errors and get a win but Steve did it tonight."
The shaky start was on the part of the Rebels defense but Owens continued to bear down and gets the outs he had to have to keep New Market (14-27) in the game during the early stages.Rico Noel led off the game with a double and came around to score on a RBI single by Derrick Washington (Hill) but Owens worked around the first two Rebel errors to keep the score at 1-0.
Covington ( 22-20) doubled the lead in the second inning when Junior Arrojo bunted down the third base with two outs and promtley stole second base. Noel followed with a RBI single for his second hit of the night and after two innings Owens had thrown 35 pitches and surrendered four hits.
New Market cut the lead to 2-1 when Kevin Dietrich (UNC-Pembroke) singled and stole second base. Dietrich came around to score on a single by Matt Hamaker that seemed to jump start the offense. The Rebels would add two runs in the fourth inning and then blow the game open with 5 more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Pitching now with an 8-2 lead it went back to playing a game of pitch and catch for Owens and Hamaker who was filling in for Nick Stanley behind the plate. Owens struck out the side in the fifth inning and the only question left was could he go the distance for the second time this season.
"The effort we received tonight from Steve was just what we have been receiving from him all season," manager Nolan Neiman said. "The difference tonight was we were able to swing the bats for him. We played the way we are capable of playing tonight."
Owens lasted into the seventh inning and with his 102ND pitch (still just four hits allowed) of the evening Hamaker was able to nail a Lumberjack runner trying to steal second base to retire the side. The final line for Owens was 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned and 7 strike outs which allowed the Spider right hander to earn his second victory of the season .
The 7-8-9 hitters for the Rebels accounted for five of the nine runs as Brandon Kirsch (2-4, 2 doubles, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored) and Justin Edwards (1-2, 2 walks, 2 runs and 1 RBI) joined team mate David Valasente (1-3, 1 double, 1 run and 1 walk) in reaching base 7 times on the night.
Dietrich continued to spark the Rebels from the top of the line-up by going 2-4 with 1 run scored and 2 RBI's while the Covington staff contributed to their defeat by issuing 7 walks. New Market scored it's final run on the back half of a double steal as Brent Weiss swiped home in the eighth inning. The double steal attempt was the second of the contest for the Rebels but Dietrich was tagged out at the plate in the fifth inning.
New Market will travel down to Harrisonburg on Saturday night in hopes of staying in the race for the eighth and final VBL playoff spot. The Rebels will need to win three straight and hope for a little help along the way to force a one game playoff.
Rebels 9, Lumberjacks 3
Covington........ 110...000...001- 3/6/1
New Market... 001...250...01X- 9/12/5
WP-Steve Owens (2-4)
LP-Brian Jordan (1-2)
Top 1ST: Covington
-Washington singled, Noel scored, Nidiffer to second
Top 2ND: Covington
-Noel singled, Arrojo scored
Bottom 3RD: New Market
-Hamaker singled, Dietrich scored, Watts to second
Bottom 4TH: New Market
-Weiss reached on an error, Edwards and Kirsch scored, Dietrich to third
Bottom 5TH: New Market
-Valasente doubled to left,Watts scored,Davis to third
-Edwards singled to left, Davis scored, Valasente to third
-Kirsch doubled to left, Valasente scored, Edwards to third
-Dietrich singled to left,Edwards and Kirsch scored
Bottom 8TH: New Market
-Weiss stole home on back half of double steal
Top 9TH: Covington
-Arrojo singled, Spisak scored, Van Meter out at the plate (Dietrich-assist)