AMCnRIC: Blog en-us (C) AMCnRIC (AMCnRIC) Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:37:00 GMT Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:37:00 GMT AMCnRIC: Blog 120 80 Standing on third . . . Standing on third . . .


Third base: the hot corner, three-fourths of the way home, 90 feet to punching a ticket. The 2016 James River Rapids varsity baseball team stands at third base heading into today’s game against Prep Baseball Reports 17th ranked Kettle Run out of Fauquier County, Virginia.


Rewinding time for a moment, as the Rapid’s 2015 season ended and knowing the team lost two stud hurlers to D1 campuses - Wake Forest and VMI - admittedly I was a doubter looking ahead to this season. I thought the stable of Rapids hitters seemed to have escaped Dave Cottrell Field as well while leaving the field that last day in May. I was a doubter only in the respect that I had come accustomed to seeing the team work to many a win, and post season play. I wasn’t sure that was in the cards looking to 2016.


Fast forward to the 2016 season opener at Thomas Dale and those doubts seemed to materialize into reality as the Rapids dropped the opener 5-6 after the Knights scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Five days later, the Rapids rebounded with a 3-2 win over Clover Hill but returned to the loss column in a hard fought game at Monacan, a 2-3, 10 inning decision.


In the back of mind I knew it was way too early to give up on Coach Schumacher and company, particularly since they were about to embark on their spring break trip. The spring break trips in the past seemed to sprinkle some MLB-type magic dust on the team over the course of 4 days. With this one being returned to South Carolina instead of being played on nearby local turf, that made it even more promising. This trek is about more than baseball - heck, it has to be - 20+ guys packed in vans playing a mere one game a day will absolutely force you to mix in something other than baseball. Sure, the team lost games one and two and was sitting 1-4, but what happened next was the beginning of this season’s journey. On March 30th, the magic dust had settled in on this team. The Rapids earned back to back wins outscoring their opponents 18-0 before boarding their rides to head north. 

Rapids feeling good after 4 in South Carolina, loading up to head north

Little did the team know this was going to be the beginning of a new grind - kids reaching deep - not fully realizing what they would be capable of ahead.


Once back in Midlothian, the Rapids demonstrated stout defensive skills. Now on a ten game win streak, the Rapids have outscored opponents 96-9. Obviously, with numbers like that batting has contributed too. And as familiar hometown opponents knew the strength of Sr 1B Vinnie Pasquantino and avoided giving him something to ring up another season’s end 0.550 plus batting average, somehow the other bats found a way to compensate, and that was with Sr DH Korey Singh still on injured reserves and watching from the dugout!



Rapids teams have long been known for pitching. And as in season’s past, new hurlers emerged on the mound, young new hurlers in Soph RHP Skylar Petry and Jr RHP Peyton McCann working Tuesday’s and Thursday’s respectively. McCann has already broke the strike out records of last year’s studs, with 5 games still to go. Lesson one: if a doubter, never give up on James River’s pitching potential.



Many of this year’s teammates have had magical moments playing among the nation’s best on fields outside of South Carolina. From the looks of where the Rapids stand today, while I was preparing for a ho-hum 2016 season a year ago, these guys were hard at work in places like the Perfect Game and Cobb County facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and the MLB Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals spring training facilities in Jupiter, Florida. Rapids were playing on area elite summer teams like the Virginia Cardinals, Evo-Shield Canes, Richmond Braves and Rise Baseball helping them prepare for their 2016 season. Lesson two: as an earlier doubter, I should have known better.


The 2016 Rapids showed they were not just fair weathered players. After traveling 3 hours west from Cottrell Field in early April, the Rapids piled on a 15-3 win against Franklin County in 42 degree weather with 30 mph gusts - straight out to center field. The Rapids walked off the field with a victory as they did two years ago at home in a critical ticket punching win, a win helped by then sophomores Pasquantino and Carmody who had critical late inning hits.



Sure this team has some great talent evidenced by four seniors (Pasquantino, Singh, Carmody, Smith) who will go on to play college ball at the D1 and D3 levels. 



But this team has just as much strength in the effort from guys that had to wait - and wait in the dug outs for more than a single season. Guys like Sr 3B Carter Watson, Sr LF Timothy Rader and Sr 2B Bryce Rosenberg waited, but they came back, they made it to third base and are standing waiting to punch a ticket - to punch the ticket as a team.



These guys are part of that stout defense that has allowed 9 runs in the past 10 games. Carter Watson has transferred his volleyball leaping skills, using them to snare multiple would be extra-bases hits on the hot corner. The others have delivered many a hit and RBI helping rack up 96 runs in the past 10 games. The young talent, Soph CF Tucker Bushby and Soph SS Thomas Jordan will push this team even farther in the years ahead. Juniors that have been waiting and watching from the dugouts, lesson 3: keep pushing as your day is around the corner. With this talent, there should be no doubters come this June.


So as the team stands on third base, with 5 games to go in the 2016 season, my doubts are long erased. No matter how special the magic from any other field may be, the magic of Cottrell Field trumps all. When guys step onto this field, and mix with this coaching staff, knowing who has come before them, they realize the most magical dust is the dust laid on the lines of Cottrell Field, dust that one would be wise to leave the field with some of it tucked into a pocket or sock colored purple and green. Walking on the field, players know that the team is better than any single player, and they know that a single player does not make a team. The grind begins now heading down the last 90 feet. Punch the ticket fellows, punch it as a team.

]]> (AMCnRIC) Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:37:03 GMT
Cosby 7 game win streak snapped at Cottrell Field The late April date for the Rapids-Titans rematch finally arrived. Aces on the mound on both sides were stellar last night - James River's G. Roberts topped out at 93 with 10 Ks while Cosby's arm turned 87; Rapid's J. Winder stepped in to finish the T7 and spun up at 88. Speaking of spun up, Winder's delivery to home had so much spin that the audible swoosh of the ball was bigger than any Nike swoosh logo found at corporate headquarters, or the campus of the Oregon Ducks for that matter.

This was a classic James River - Cosby grind session. Hits were scarce under this level of pitching, and runs were even harder to come by. The Rapids prevailed in both categories however - 5 hits to Cosby's 2, and earned the 2-1 win to sweep the regular season series.

Rapid's defensive highlights included R. Irby's self-preservation style line drive snag of a Cosby scorcher and the third-to-home run-down activated on a play from Cosby's own play book - Rapid's catcher throws down to the second base bag, intentionally intercepted in the infield grass, whipped back to Carmody who turned to 3B to trap the Cosby runner coming home, who was eventually tagged out to prevent a Cosby run. Speaking of scarce runs, the Rapids scored the go ahead run on alert base running/coaching when the Cosby catcher vacated his position in pursuit of a slow roller one-third of the way down the first base line. One and a half hours after the first pitch, game over; Rapids are now 12-2 and face a 12-2 Manchester later in the week. Cosby, well, they had that bus ride home that I'm sure was much different from their ride to Cottrell. Grind begins now - Go Rapids.

]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:20:09 GMT
James River hosts Godwin Four Rapids home runs: Pasquantino, 3 run HR; Singh - back to back solo HRs; Cleary - walk off grand slam. Need I say more? Rapids win 16-5 on team effort 15 hits last night.

Rapids K. Singh launches his second solo HR of the game. Junior K. Singh launches his second solo home run of the game.

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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Fri, 24 Apr 2015 01:12:59 GMT
How late can they wait? James River Rapids continue to keep their fans and opponents on the edge of their seats until late in the game. Facing another hungry opponent eager to knock off the #1 team at Monacan last Thursday, the Rapids found a way to grind out a win after five scoreless innings.

Rapid's B. Cleary listens as Coach D. makes sure he knows the plan late in the game.

B. Cleary listens to Coach D. to make sure he knows his role late in the game. 

Scoring one run in the top of the fifth, Rapids batters fought a stingy Monacan infield that prevented most ground balls from getting past them. The Monacan outfield was equally successful landing the Rapid's fly balls, aided by an Omaha-like inbound wind that held up the lofty pop flies enough to get under them and complete the out.

‚ÄčA. Pierpont tracks down a Monacan ground ball.

After 6 complete innings, the Rapids clung to a 1-0 lead before plating two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. With J. Winder on the mound and three Monacan batters later, the Rapids clinched a 3-0 victory and headed into Spring break week undefeated at 5-0. While the team pulled out the victory late in the game, they realize they cannot keep waiting in the games ahead.


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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Sun, 05 Apr 2015 23:26:49 GMT
Every game does matter . . . Thursday night, the James River Rapids, carrying their #1 metro-area ranking into the second game of the week experienced what their coaches had told them earlier and what each of them knew deep inside. Sitting in the top ranked spot, every opponent would likely bring their best game in an attempt to topple the Rapids from their lofty perch. This one certainly turned out to live up to such a threat. With several multi-run inning games behind them, the Rapid scoreboard took a bit longer to light up as each 3 outs passed by.

With early inning runs elusive in their first three games, Rapids junior M. Carmody, hitting from the 4-spot launched a sac fly to center field to score one run in the first inning. At first, maybe the Rapids were going to try something new - early inning runs. Not happening. The Rapids clung to a 1-0 lead until the top of the sixth when LC Bird plated one to tie the game. Rapids players now had to dig deep in this one with only two innings remaining to calm the crowd and protect their undefeated record.

Mid-game regrouping.

As the bottom of the sixth rolled around, Rapids batters #3, #4 and #5 were due up. V. Pasquantino did his job and made it on base. Carmody followed and before stepping into the box, coach called him over to give him his instructions.

James River head coach calms M. Carmody in the bottom of the sixth while giving him instructions with the score tied.

With Pasquantino on first, Carmody attempted several bunts, creating enough havoc to keep the catcher at bay and move Pasquantino over to third, but was unsuccessful at getting on base. Not to fear - Pasquantino was able to break the tie on a wild pitch. The bottom of the sixth was the inning - with senior R. Irby due up LC Bird intentionally walked him. Meads and Cleary got on to load the bases. Pinch hitter junior B. Rosenberg came to the plate with eyes wide open. The scoreboard lit up in James River's favor - Rosenberg smacked a base clearing double to make the score 5-1. The Rapids were able to hold on defense in the top of the seventh. Final score: Rapids 5, LC Bird 1. Rapids wrapped up the week 4-0, and know for sure that every game matters. We'll see in games to come who it matters to most. Go Rapids.


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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Sat, 28 Mar 2015 22:57:28 GMT
A series of magical twos - the important and not so important James River Rapids baseball advanced to 3-0 Tuesday evening after carding a 10-1 win over the Manchester Lancers on Cottrell Field. The magic of twos was the theme of the day. Midway through the game, pitcher G. Roberts in his second game again battled out of two out runners in scoring position situations. The Rapid's defense helped Roberts out by turning a double play as second baseman B. Rosenberg snagged a line drive over the bag and than tagged the Manchester runner who was sent on the hit and run.

On the offensive, in the bottom of the fifth, senior B. Reid smacked the go ahead second Rapids run starting a two out rally; with V. Pasquantino on base after an RBI of his own, junior M. Carmody followed with an RBI double to the right field gap scoring Pasquantino; keeping the rally alive, R. Irby stepped to the plate and knocked a two run home run, his second long ball in two games, this one going out of the park. After 5 innings, the Rapids turned what started out as a pitchers duel into a 6-1 lead.

Rapids senior R. Irby celebrates his two run home run in the fifth inning.

After holding the Lancers to their lone run in the top of the sixth, the Rapids started their second rally of the game - this time lead off A. Pierpont moved the runner to third on a double and senior A. Arnold repeated with a two RBI double of his own. The "three-peat" of doubles continued with Pasquantino's hit to the left field fence scoring another run, the score now tallied at 9-1. Relief player junior C. Watson kept the hitting streak alive with another RBI. Rapids pitcher G. Roberts recorded the win in a complete game, the final score, 10-1.

The least important magical two was revealed over the weekend: after the first week of play, the #3 Rapids moved up 2 spots in the metro-area rankings. The most important "too" was revealed after the 10-1 victory when the Rapids' coaches made it clear to the team: it is far too early to let up on effort. Time to get back to work. The Rapids are scheduled to host L. C. Bird this Thursday.


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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Wed, 25 Mar 2015 03:15:48 GMT
#3 James River at #5 Cosby - One to remember . . . . . . or maybe not for Cosby. James River's J. Winder, my co-MVP with R. Irby, took to the mound and never let up, pitching a complete (shortened) game and getting the win - an impressive 13-3 win over across town rival Cosby. These teams have routinely battled to the end of the season, working to earn the chance to move on to regionals and beyond. Speaking of one to remember, who can remember when, or if, Cosby has ever been on this end of a shortened game, one ended due to the 10 run rule? While James River can relish the victory for as long as the bus ride home, the pause won't last long as the team heads back to work honing their skills in a very short time as next week they host Manchester.

James River's J. Winder pitches a complete game in the 13-3 victory over Cosby.

I mentioned co-MVPs. My co-pick, R. Irby added fuel to the fire in the top of the fourth, launching a bomb that landed on top of the yellow piping in left field, a hit that scored all three runners occupying the bases while the ball dropped back into play and Irby stood on second base.

This game was full of Rapid excitement as James River batted around in two of the five innings. The James River fury started in the first inning as Cosby struggled from the mound. The Rapids scored three in the top with their entire lineup getting a plate appearance; Cosby could not get on the board until the bottom of the third, closing the lead to 3-2. It looked like the game was about to get tense and exciting like so many before it, another nail biter in the making.

By the top of the fourth, the Rapids plate another run - and yes, the excitement was about to begin in an unimagined way. Cosby sent a new pitcher to the mound and the Rapids quickly went up 7-2; with two outs and a third Cosby ace on the mound, the scoreboard lit up two more, the Rapids now sitting on 9-2; the battering ended at 11-2 by the time Cosby finally got off the field.

C. Watson scores for James River.

Winder was not done - he and the team ended the fourth inning four Cosby batters later and headed in to grab their bats again. In the fifth, James River brought two more runs home. Cosby could not close down the 10 run lead and both teams got to leave the field early with a final score of 13-3.

With this one finally over, you can count on Cosby's memories being jarred late in April when they make that same bus trip the Rapids so enjoyed last night and travel to Cottrell field for the rematch. Remember to be there - mark your calendars now.


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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Sat, 21 Mar 2015 01:26:51 GMT
James River - Thomas Dale baseball lives up to billing Last night, the James River Rapids, having a #3 metro-Richmond area ranking, hosted the #10 Thomas Dale Knights in the season opener. The contest was billed as one of the area's best match-ups for the day. James River started senior G. Roberts on the mound who fought his way out of bases loaded situations on more than one occasion.

G. Roberts gets the start for James River against Thomas Dale in the season opener.


On the other side, Thomas Dale's ace kept the Rapids off the board until the fourth inning when the Rapids were able to put the game's first run across the plate. With runners on first and second, James River coaches called for their clean up batter, junior M. Carmody, to stowe his power and lay down a bunt. Thomas Dale's ace brought a low pitch, to which Carmody squared and lowered to a sand crab-like position, dropping the ball to a nearly dead stop a mere three feet in front of the plate. Runners were able to advance to second and third; two batters later the Rapids scored the first run of the game.


The Rapids followed Roberts with two more of their D1 pitching commits, protecting the lone run until the top of the seventh when Thomas Dale tied the game at one a piece. When the Rapids were unable to break the tie in the bottom of the inning, the game went to the eighth where the fourth pitcher for the Rapids, R. Irby, struck out the first three Dale batters with some wicked curve balls. By evening's end, the Rapids were able to end the game in the bottom of the eighth with a walk off double by junior V. Pasquantino. His hit scored pinch runner A. Pierpoint brought on board by pinch hitter K. Singh's walk. While Pasquantino's hit sealed the win, Singh glowed in a much celebrated feat of his first varsity appearance. Next up for the Rapids, an away game at rival #5 Cosby.


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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Thu, 19 Mar 2015 00:22:51 GMT
James River High School Varsity Baseball Now that the snow covered field has given way to an infield mixed with field dry, James River High School launches its preparations for a third state championship. Elusive in recent years, this Midlothian, VA area school last brought home the trophy in 2008 for the second year in a row. In a scrimmage this past Friday against North Stafford, junior V. Pasquantino launches his own statement in the early innings, a solo home run over the right center field fence.

Later in the game, James River catcher, junior M. Carmody takes out the runner attempting to steal second.

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]]> (AMCnRIC) James River Baseball James River Rapids Sat, 14 Mar 2015 20:18:21 GMT