Having guided Carroll County’s baseball team to its best season since 2011, seniors Hayden Farmer and Nick Bell continued to lead the way May 15 in a 6-2 Three Rivers District victory over Radford on Senior Night in Hillsville.
Bell went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored two of the Cavaliers’ six runs. Farmer went 1-for-4 and also scored a run. Meanwhile, Bell made a big play in the first inning at third base, ending a Radford rally by turning one of three ending-inning double plays on the night for Carroll County (10-8, 7-4 Three Rivers District).
“Both Nick and Hayden this year have really stepped into the heart of the leadership role, which has helped out quite a bit and shown the younger guys how to go about things properly and being prepared in the ins and outs of every day in practice,” Carroll County head baseball coach Kevin DeHaven said. “Some days we need to focus more and some days we can have more fun. They have done great filling that role for me and both have bought into trying to get that winning tradition back. They have not stressed it to the point where we are playing under a lot of stress like we have to win every game, but they have set the tone of this is what we need to do and how we need to go about it along with still joking around, having fun and being relaxed. There is a fine line between them being stressed and being totally relaxed. When they are relaxed, they play a lot better.”
The Cavaliers certainly did not get stressed when Radford opened up a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Carroll answered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Ironically, it was Farmer and Bell who got it started.
With two outs, Farmer kept the inning alive with a line-drive single to right field. Bell then moved Farmer into scoring position by taking a pitch in the back. Lance Rotenizer drove them both in with a two-run single to left field for a 2-1 Carroll lead.
The Cavaliers added two runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Chad Crotts and Cole Montgomery. Bell got things started for Carroll in the fifth with a leadoff single. Rotenizer walked and Blake Stanley followed with a single to load the bases. The Cavs added insurance runs on Brandon Martin’s RBI single to score Bell and when Kyle Robinson grounded into a double play to score Rotenizer.
Meanwhile, Robinson had a stellar game on the mound for Carroll, allowing just two hits and two runs in six innings to pick up the victory. After giving up a pair of singles in the first inning, Robinson did not give up another hit.
Montgomery went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Carroll, while Rotenizer drove in two and scored a run on one hit. Crotts and Martin each had a hit with Crotts driving in a run and Martin scoring once.
Since starting the season with an 0-4 record, Carroll County has now won 10 of its last 14 games. The Cavaliers also have the program’s best record since 2011 when Carroll went 12-9. DeHaven said the seniors have played a huge role in the turnaround.
“Both of them have really stepped up their production for the team as far as making plays in the field and producing at the plate,” DeHaven said. “Hayden over the last eight to 10 games has raised his batting average from the mid-250s to .355. Nick has gotten hot lately and now has improved his average to .362. When they hit district play is when they really stepped up their game.”
Radford 100 001 0 – 2 2 1
Carroll 220 020 x – 6 10 3
Morris, Bonet (5), Vaughn (6) and Marshall (R); Robinson, Hull (7) and Crotts (CC). WP – Robinson. LP – Morris.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN