Baseball slides towards Districts

Senior Joe Burris steps up to bat against Brooke Point. The Patriots won 4-2.

Alex Leslie, Revolution Correspondent

Mix of experience, youth and pitching pushes Pats to exceed expectations

It’s 81 degrees and sunny, a District rival looms only a couple days away, and the AHS varsity baseball team is asking each other for spare shorts.

Coach Jimmy Bibb had just relieved the players of their pants-wearing duties when all the players flocked to their bags to grab a nice cool pair of shorts. Those less fortunate asked their teammates for an extra pair.

So far a change in clothes hasn’t held the Patriots back. Albemarle has defeated their District rivals, Colonial Forge for the first time in four years. Albemarle beat the two-time reigning Commonwealth District champs the Soaring Eagles 4-2 on March 11.

“This year was the first year we’ve beaten them [Colonial Forge] since we’ve been at Albemarle. So it’s always been a big rivalry,” senior outfielder A.J. Willy said.

Gaining confidence from that early District win, Albemarle is off to a 9-3 record, even with a young team.

“We have three tenth graders, which is very unusual, I don’t usually keep tenth graders on the Varsity team,” Bibb said. “I think Joe Burris was our tenth grader that’s the only one I’ve really kept but we have three [sophomores] this year, Caleb Campbell, Connor Porco, and D.G. Archer.”

Archer has been batting .385 this season with eight RBIs and seems to be recovered from his injury this fall.

An even stronger force in the Pats line-up junior Ritchie DeLoria, who is batting .387 with nine RBIs.

Along with the powerhouse hitting, what really gets the job done is the pitching. Senior Joe Burris, who has already signed to play for Va Tech, has 50 strike-outs in six appearances on the mound.

If Burris starts a game, he seems to be unstoppable; with a pitching record of 4-0 in games he has started, along with three complete games under his belt.

“I think we are capable of going pretty far if we get things together,” Burris said. “We’ve always got to make the routine plays.”

However, when AHS faced Colonial Forge again on April 12, they couldn’t keep their momentum going from a four game winning streak and lost 0-11.

“We’ve got to work on our hitting a little bit. We’re getting the occasional hit, but we can go above and beyond,” Burris said.

The Pats hope for revenge against Colonial Forge to keep them from winning their third straight District Tournament. Last year they came in second in the regular season and third in the District Tournament. AHS is working hard to win their first Districts this decade.

AHS prepares for their games with structured practice every day. Within the practices the players stretch, run, throw and preform various drills.

“We do a lot of infield, outfield, and individual drills. And we hit a lot off the tee, in the cage and on the field,” Burris said.

Fans can see how all of this preparation will come together at Albemarle’s next home game on May 3 against Stafford.