Redhawks Take Preseason Lumps

Brandon Anderson delivers for Westwood. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

BLYTHEWOOD (March 1, 2017) – The Westwood baseball team is not short on athletes for the 2017 season.

The Redhawks, coming off an 8-13 season, will be working on the mental side of the game before the season opener next Friday.

“We’re young. The hardest thing for the young guys is the mental side,” Westwood head coach Jonathan Burroughs said. “We’re going to have to take some lumps to develop that mental toughness and overcome that adversity.”

The Redhawks lost seven seniors from last year but return right fielder Connor Buck, left fielder Brandon May, first baseman Rashawn Green and catcher Elijah Heatley, who will anchor the lineup.

“We’ve got some talent. We do have some talent,” Burroughs said. “But we’ve got some learning to do before the season starts.”

For the time being, Westwood is at work cleaning up fielding mistakes. In Tuesday’s doubleheader action, the Redhawks fell 4-3 to Ben Lippen. In the nightcap, Westwood and Providence Home School battled through four scoreless innings before the Panthers closed out a 5-2 win.

Redhawks starting pitcher Brandon Anderson worked 4 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking three. He gave up three hits, all in the Panthers’ 5-run fifth inning.

Four Redhawk errors with runners already on the base paths didn’t help Anderson’s cause. He gave up hits to Caleb Green and McKinley Proctor. Green was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Proctor scored when Averly Blevins reached on an error.

Will Lawyer also reached on an error, and Blevins and Lawyer eventually scored when James Reed’s 2-out fly ball to center field popped out of Anthony LaCola’s glove. Reed scored the fifth and final run on Cal Hucks’ single to right.

Green, the 10th batter of the inning, grounded out to retire the side.

The Providence fifth nixed an otherwise strong defensive effort for the Redhawks. Through four innings Westwood blanked the Panthers, and Bryce Hinson even robbed James Reed of a single when he snagged a liner from his position at shortstop to start the fourth.

Westwood bats were silent because of Providence starter Matthew Derrick, who struck out eight and gave up two hits.

But in the bottom of the fourth, Hinson dug into the batter’s box and slammed a one-out double to the left center-field wall. Hinson moved to third as Derrick pitched to Connor Buck. When Buck leaned in for a bunt at a ball in the dirt, Hinson raced home with the ball at the backstop for the game’s first run.

After Providence’s fifth-inning effort, that run didn’t matter. Westwood picked up a run on two hits in the bottom of the fifth, but ended the game when Buck’s strongly hit ball to center field landed in Parker Pocock’s glove.

Westwood played Ben Lippen again Wednesday.

PHS: 0-0-0 0-5 – 5-3-0

WHS: 0-0-0 1-1 – 2-3-4

WP: Matthew Derrick. LP: Brandon Anderson

Hitters: Westwood – Bryce Henson, 2B.