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Bengals fall to Eagles
Bassett runs into Bivens
Bassett's Kemper Terry (1) rounds second base in the fifth inning as G.W.-Danville shortstop Brad Smith waits for the throw in the Eagles' 9-3 win on Wednesday in Bassett. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
The Bassett Bengals stepped onto the diamond at Bassett High School for only the third time since March 11.
Snowy and adverse weather conditions and the construction of Bengals’ schedule made it tough for the players at Bassett to compete in their sport.
When the Bengals finally got a chance to play Wednesday night against G.W.-Danville, the “rust” began to show.
“Only our second ball game,” Bassett head coach Bill Parks said. “I think it was fairly obviously that we had some rust to work through.”
The rust couldn’t have come at a worse time either as the Bengals faced pitcher Blake Bivens — a verbal commitment to Liberty University who Parks said also has a chance to be drafted into Major League Baseball out of high school.
Bivens threw 15 strikeouts on the evening and pitched every inning of a 9-3 win for the Eagles.
“He threw a lot of strikes,” G.W.-Danville head coach Wayne Shelton said. “Anytime you throw strikes with his stuff, you’re going to be pretty successful.”
Bivens picked up all three outs for his team on strikeouts in three separate innings and finished giving up only four hits and one earned run.
Parks knew it was going to be a tough game going up against the right-handed junior, but he was happy his team got the experience of facing him.
“We’ve always enjoyed facing pitchers like that,” Parks said. “I’m glad we actually got to see him early on. I think that will prepare us later on for some of the other guys we may be seeing in district play.
One of those guys the Bengals are bound to see is Tunstall’s Luke Simpson. Bivens and Simpson have similar qualities.
“Both of them are competitors,” Parks said. “... When you’re seeing guys of that caliber you have to make adjustments.”
Not only was Bivens a force on the mound, but he also was a key player at the plate for the Eagles.
With two outs remaining in the top of the fourth, Bivens hit a single to right to score Hunter Byrnes and Jay Cumbo and increase the Eagles lead to 7-1. The hit came off of a pitch from the Bengals’ Logan Woodall — the third of five pitchers that Parks used on the night.
Parks’ use of his pitchers was more of a strategy than reaction to the flow of the game however, the coach said.
“Early on I wanted to see what we have in our pitching staff,” Parks said. “I think we used five of our seven pitchers on staff. We had some guys that needed to get some work in early and I felt like this was a good enough game to allow them to get their feet wet.”
Nic Keister picked up the loss for the Bengals going 11?3 innings, giving up three hits, four runs (one earned), three walks and one strikeout.
Trevor Martin, Woodall, Caleb Davis, and Samuel Stambaugh saw time on the mound.
Keister went 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple, and Stambaugh went 2-for-3 with a RBI.
Bassett plays next on Friday at Christianburg.