The top seed Marshall Statesmen exploded for five runs in the first inning that led to an 8-1 victory over the visiting Wakefield Warriors last night in a first-round game of the Capitol Conference 13 high school baseball tournament.
The victory was the 10th in a row for Marshall, which hosts the No. 5 seed Stuart Raiders in a semifinal game Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Marshall last won a district or conference baseball tournament in 1999 when the Statesmen upset their way to the Liberty District tourney title with a 3-0 record behind the pitching of right-hander Tommy Bell. Marshall finished 10-14 that year, after a 6-13 regular season.
Against Wakefield, after junior centerfielder John Bennett singled, junior infielder Will Brooke doubled, and junior catcher Mitch Blackstone walked, senior Conor Boyle jump started the Statesmen with a bases-loaded double to drive in two runs. Junior third baseman Matt Borowski stroked a line drive, two-run single to center, and then scored on a Warriors error after a lined hit by junior rightfielder Matt Rosenberg.
Sophomore Steven Johel was in command for the Statesmen in his playoff pitching debut, striking out nine and allowing only one unearned run, two hits and one walk over five innings. Fellow sophomore Nick Cintron finished for Marshall, surrendering only one walk and striking out two in two innings.
Marshall added three runs in the fourth inning, as Blackstone tripled, driving in Brooke, then scored on a wild pitch. Borowski picked up his third RBI by driving in junior first baseman Shane Russell with another line single. Bennett and Russell had the other hits for Marshall.
Patrick Girard took the loss for No. 8 seed Wakefield (2-14), and alternated pitching with Leo Biette-Timmons throughout the game.
Marshall had nine hits, with Bennett and Borowski having two each.
The championship game is Friday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the highest seed.