Patriot Bats Explode in Win Over Battlefield

John Nolan
Virginia Scouting Director & Managing Editor

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Tuesday night saw a Cedar Run District showdown between crosstown rivals No. 21 Patriot and No. 6 Battlefield. Both teams entered their first meeting of the season unbeaten in District play, with the winner getting a leg up in the race for the District Championship, which is awarded to the regular season champion. Patriot's bats exploded for six runs in the second inning and the Pioneers cruised to a 12-1 victory to remain unbeaten in District play for 2019.

Both teams sent their aces to the mound to open the game, with Patriot starting junior Riley Eikhoff (Virginia) and Battlefield going with senior Zach Agnos (East Carolina). Patriot got on the board quickly in the top of the first inning. Eikhoff singled to center with one out and his courtesy runner, Drew Wann, stole second. Freshman Eli Serrano doubled off of the left-center fence to drive in the game's first run for Patriot.

Battlefield answered immediately in the bottom of the first when senior outfielder Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb) hit a solo home run to right center to tie the game at 1, which is what the score was after the first.

Patriot's second inning opened with Jaden Minnick doubling into the rightfield corner, but Agnos was able to get two quick outs and appeared to be on track to get out of the inning. He got Josh Jansen to chop a ball on the ground that ended up drawing a throwing error and allowing Minnick to score. Brian Wilson doubled to right center to drive in another run. After Eikhoff drew a walk, Serrano made the score 4-1 with an RBI single and then fellow freshman Kyle Vandenburg blasted a three-run home run to left to make the score 7-1.

Eikhoff allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the second and then proceeded to strike out the side to keep the 7-1 lead after two complete innings. Agnos fired a scoreless third and Battlefield was able to get a bit of a rally going in the bottom of the third after CJ Miles (George Mason) worked a walk and stole second. But Eikhoff got Cunningham to ground out and painted the outside black with a 90 MPH fastball to freeze Agnos and end the third with Patriot's 7-1 lead intact.

Patriot put the game out of reach in the top of the fourth, adding four more runs and taking advantage of three more Bobcat errors in doing so. Eikhoff didn't allow another hit in the last two innings and the Pioneers added one more in the fifth en route to a 12-1 win.

For Patriot, Eikhoff threw a CG going 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K while also going 1-3 with a BB at the plate. Vandenburg was 2-4 with a home run and 4 RBIs. Serrano was 2-2 with a 2B, BB, HBP, and 2 RBIs. Minnick was 1-2 with a 2B, 2 BBs, and an RBI. Wilson was 1-3 with a 2B, BB, and RBI.

For Battlefield, Cunningham was 1-3 with a solo home run. Miles was 0-1 with 2 BBs and a SB. Adam Kuzmicki was 1-2. 

These two will face off for a second time on Monday, April 29.