April 11 - Yorktown coach John Skaggs points to his team’s depth and the familiarity his players have with each other for the Patriots’ hot start this season.
Yorktown (8-1 overall, 4-0 Liberty District) enters tonight’s home game against South Lakes (5-3, 1-2) alone atop the league standings and as one of the area’s hottest-hitting clubs. The defending district champions, who beat the Seahawks in the Liberty final last spring, have scored 45 runs over their current five-game winning streak.
That offense has come in support of a pitching staff led by senior left-hander Aidan Henning.
“Our guys are going up aggressive and looking to drive balls in the gaps,” Skaggs said. “We also have a deep bench, which allows us to stay competitive at practices.”
Yorktown has been getting production from a group of regulars that grew up together in the local youth leagues and then within the program at the Arlington school, many thriving in increased roles after the graduation of all-region outfielders Carson Wood and Tanner Wall.
In Monday’s 8-5 win over No. 9 Bishop O’Connell, three players - Nathan Knowles, Alec Ellison and Cameron Patton - connected for home runs. During the current five-game win streak, senior catcher Ben Koomey, who hit a game-winning homer in last year’s district championship, is 8-for-15 with six walks, junior third baseman Josh Jones is 7-for-15 with six walks and seven RBI, and the top two hitters in the lineup - senior shortstop Jonah Margosis and junior second baseman Peter Ogden - have combined to reach base 20 times.
Knowles has a hit in all nine games this season.
“The team chemistry is what is setting us apart from teas of the past,” Skaggs said. “Everyone has each other’s back.”
And then there’s Henning, the Christopher Newport University recruit who is likely to start tonight’s game against South Lakes. The southpaw had his shortest outing of the year on Friday at Washington-Lee, earning a no-decision after needing 80 pitches to get through three innings in a 12-3 win, but he’ll nonetheless carry a 3-0 record with a 2.02 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 17.1 innings into tonight’s start. Meanwhile, the No. 2 starter, senior right-hander Bart Marshall, sits at 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings.
“We need to continue to do the little things right if we want to continue to succeed,” Skaggs said. “Still have a long way to go, but it’s a good start.”
Photo of Aidan Henning courtesy of Yorktown Baseball