Getting the tag

Princeton 2nd baseman Brock Halsey puts the tag on Gavin Lail for the out during their game on May 12.

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The Bluefield Beavers did not like being on the losing end of a baseball game for the first time in 2021. They washed that bad taste out of their mouths on Wednesday.

The first run at historic Bowen Field was tallied by the Princeton Tigers. The other 13 belonged to the Beavers, who improved to 13-1 this spring with a 13-1 victory in a game that ended after 4 1/2 innings.

“This was a bounce-back from (Tuesday),” said Bluefield head coach Jimmy Redmond, referring to the Beavers’ 4-1 loss at Independence after a dozen wins in a row. “We looked a lot better at the plate, more disciplined.”

The Tigers started the game by loading the bases off Bluefield starter Kerry Collins. Spencer Turner, Princeton’s cleanup batter, then issued a sacrifice to score lead off man Jordan Bailey.

“Princeton’s always scrappy,” said Redmond, whose team has now won all three games against the Tigers this season.

Turner’s sacrifice was the first of six straight outs — four of them by strikeouts authored by Collins, who fanned the side in the second.

“Kerry made some adjustments from the first inning,” Redmond said. “A good pitcher works through some adversity, and he did. ... He settled down.”

He got help from the Bluefield bats. Four of five hits in the bottom of the second were extrabase knocks, including a two-RBI double by Tyler Lambert. Collins also had a double when he grounded up the left-field line. That tied the game 1-1 — momentarily.

Errors came at inopportune times for Princeton, adding fuel to a Bluefield offense that banged out 11 hits.

Bluefield’s freshman catcher Bryson Redmond, son of the head coach, batted 3 for 4 Wednesday, with a double, single and triple. He drove in three runs.

He said, “I was just seeing the ball really well today. ... I’ve been hitting it very good this year. I’ve got to continue to do that. You have to practice, a lot. It’s a seven-day-a-week thing.”

“We have a great team,” he said. “We hit the ball, one through nine.”

He said the team’s veteran players are “very respectful of me, and I’m very respectful of them. We all play as a team.”

Hunter Hartman was 2 for 2 at the plate, and scored two runs. He also stole a base and claimed an RBI in the initial inning with a triple to center field.

The Beavers host PikeView on Friday and play Nicholas County at 4 p.m. Saturday at Bowen Field.

“We’re always working to get better,” Jimmy Redmond said. “Every day. We’re just going to keep working hard ... to get better, every day.”

Bryson Redmond said, “I really think we have a lot of wins in front of us. We’ve just got to keep on playing, day by day.”

The Tigers (3-14) host Oak Hill on Friday at Hunnicutt Field, and play Tazewell on Monday.

Princeton head coach Austin Southcott said, “It’s been a rough start for us, but these guys are understanding that this is a developing year. ... We’ve only got two seniors, and we’ve got a lot of 10th graders who are getting a lot of varsity time they normally wouldn’t get.

“Once we get to sectionals, your record starts over, 0-0, and that’s the mindset we’re kind of going with right now. ... Hopefully, by sectionals, we’ll be playing our best ball.”

Tom Bone is a freelance reporter for the Princeton Times and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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