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Rivalry renewed: Westover beats Monroe in baseball

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Whish.

That's not the sound of a basketball dropping through a net, but it's a sound they heard all during the Westover-Monroe game Friday as the two rivals took their city feud to the baseball diamond at Paul Eames Park.

The other sound was Monroe's unbeaten season ending. Both came at the hands of Robert Daniel, who simply dominated Monroe all evening. By the time it was over, Daniel had fanned 16 Tornadoes in Westover's 6-3 victory that ended Monroe's perfect start.

"I was a little pumped up,'' Daniel said. "They were talking a little smack this week, and I wanted to show them they were wrong.''

This was the first of what could be three meetings this season, and Monroe will have to get used to seeing Daniel, who is only a sophomore. The lefty throws hard and throws strikes. He gave up only two hits and walked two while striking out every Monroe batter in the lineup except for Alvin Butler, who doubled home a run in the third and drove home Justin Mims with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Mims, who has stolen more than 20 bases in seven games already this season, walked, stole second and went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Butler's fly to center.

Monroe's first run came in the third when Bradley Dawson singled to right and Xavier Rollins, who had walked, scored from second after right fielder Josh Black bobbled the ball.

But that was it for Monroe (6-1, 1-1 in Region 1-AAA).

"(Daniel) was mowing them down,'' said Westover baseball coach Kevin Fretwell, who took over the team this season. "He was strong, and he had great velocity. He threw over 100 pitches but he looked just as strong at the end of the game.''

Daniel struck out the side in the first inning, and struck out the side in the seventh. He didn't try to fool Monroe with a lot of off-speed stuff. He went right at the Tornadoes.

"I think I threw a couple of curves and one changeup,'' Daniel said. "My gameplan was to show them the gas until they showed me they could hit it. They never showed me.''

Oddly enough, this was Daniel's first win of the season. He's 1-3.

"But he has an ERA under 2.00,'' Fretwell said. "He has lost because of errors (and unearned runs). He hasn't struck out 16 in a game, but in the summer league he pitched a perfect game (in a tournament in Florida). He pitched a great game (Friday).''

Daniel never trailed. Westover rapped out four singles in the first inning and took a 2-0 lead on Nick Lane's bases-loaded two-run single.

The Patriots (5-5, 3-0) scored two more in second. Black doubled, moved up on an error, and scored on Jacob Cambpell's sacrifice fly, and Michael Schlegel tripled and scored on an error. Westover added two more in the fourth, scoring on an error and J.T. Santos' RBI single -- a fly to center that was lost in the sun.

Monroe's ace Andrew Kegler relieved starter Justin Pride in the sixth and gave up only one hit while pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

"We came out a little flat,'' Monroe coach Cecil Williams said. "You can't talk it, you've got to play it. I thought we would be a lot more excited to play Westover. I thought (the talk between the two teams this week) would energize us.''

In his 11th year, however, Williams knows it's a long season.

"I told them after the game to get ready to play because we've got 20 games left,'' Williams said. "He's a pretty good pitcher, and we made some errors and got behind. When you've got a pitcher throwing like that, it's hard to catch up.''