Redhawks notch 5th straight win

BLYTHEWOOD – Fresh off of winning its first ever tournament championship, the Westwood baseball team notched its fifth straight victory Monday night against Ridge View.

The Redhawks used heads-up baserunning and timely hitting in a 10-run third inning to take out the Blazers 15-5 in six innings.

Westwood’s win came after it won the first annual National Restoration Brokerage Invitational tournament Feb. 26 – March 4. The host team Redhawks bested North Central 10-7, C.A. Johnson 15-0, Fairfield Central 9-0, and Chester 12-11 over the course of the tournament.

“We’ve been putting in a lot of work. We have a very experienced team with 13 seniors,” Westwood head coach Mike McDermott said. “We expected to play well and we came out swinging the bat. We’re doing good things.”

On Monday night Westwood kept doing good things.

After giving up a run in the first, Westwood got three runs on zero hits in the bottom of the frame. Ridge View starting pitcher Alvin Murray III walked four Redhawks and threw five wild pitches in facing seven batters.

The Blazers tied the game up at 3 in the third. Thomas Williams hit a 1-out, ground-rule double off of Westwood starting pitcher Kendell Gandy, then Xavier Johnson singled in Murray, who legged out an infield single to start the inning. Nathan Caldwell II reached on an error that scored Murray.

Gandy, who like Murray also struggled with control in his four innings of work, pulled himself together to strike out Ni’J Steadman to end the inning. He finished his turn on the mound giving up three runs, walking three and hitting two batters, but striking out six.

Westwood’s 10-run third was when Murray’s control, never really present, went off the radar. Murray faced four Westwood batters and hit two of them, walked one, and gave up a hit. The Ridge View pitcher gave up eight runs, walked six, hit three, and stuck out just two in his two-plus innings of work.

Jackson Kennedy came on in relief of Murray and wasn’t much better for the Blazers. Kennedy pitched the rest of the third, giving up five runs on six hits, walking one. Ridge View committed three errors in the inning, during which Westwood sent 16 batters to the plate.

“Honestly it’s a new team, the way we’ve been hitting the ball and the confidence that these kids have,” McDermott said. “We have confidence in executing offensively, which we didn’t really have in years past.

Ridge View kept the game going with two runs in the top of the fifth to make it 14-5, but Westwood’s Josh Henegan drove in a run on a single in the bottom of the sixth that ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

Westwood played at White Knoll Wednesday and travels to Ridge View Friday.

“White Knoll just won their tournament and we know they’ll be a challenge,” McDermott said. “Well have John (Janco) on the bump for that game. Previously we would just try to compete, but now we’re going into White Knoll and we expect to win.”

Ridge View – 1-0-2-0-2-0 — 5, 5, 2

Westwood  – 3-0-10-1-0-1 — 15, 12, 1

WP: Kendell Gandy. LP: Alvin Murray III.

Hitters: R – Thomas Williams, 2-3, RBI. W – Donnie Weston 2-3, 3B, 2RBI. Zach Gore 2-3, 2B, RBI. Xavier de Jesus 2B, 3 RBI. John Janco 2B.

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