Baseball: Herndon off to strong start

April 6, 2012

The Herndon baseball team has found a winning spring break formula that has helped key a 6-0 start to the season.

Hornets Coach Greg Miller prefers to play in a spring break tournament affiliated with the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C., because there are practice days as well as game days.

“Those tournaments where you play five games, we don’t have a lot of pitching depth and I just feel like you’re playing a couple games where you’re asking for it,” said Miller, whose team has played in the Ripken-affiliated event all three of his seasons as head coach. “We play three good teams and get a lot of practice time in, too, so it’s the best of both worlds.”

Herndon won all three games at the Ripken event this week to remain unbeaten headed into the start of Virginia AAA Concorde District play Tuesday at home against No. 2 Oakton, the defending league champion.

The Hornets’ second game at Myrtle Beach took place at Pelicans Ballpark, home of the Texas Rangers’ Class A affiliate in the Carolina League.

Herndon senior Addison Wright, shown pitching in May 2011, is 2-0 so far this season. (Richard A. Lipski/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Herndon seniors Zach Wallace, Tyler Reif and Addison Wright each are 2-0 on the mound for a team that has outscored its opponents 59-13.

Junior catcher Austin Schnarrs was hitting .714 with 12 RBI through the first five games. Schnarrs, the projected first baseman, had to take over behind the plate because senior Matt Smith has a shoulder problem that necessitated his moving to second base. Smith and senior first baseman Parker Hill are both batting over .500.

Oakton would have to be considered the Concorde favorite, but there are several teams capable of winning the title.

“I’ve been telling everybody that I think the difference between the team that finishes in first place and last place in our district may be minimal,” Miller said. “I don’t know if the name talent is there in the district like it has been the last couple years, but there are a lot of good solid baseball players and good coaching.”

Herndon has gone 11-7 each of the past two years after four consecutive losing seasons. The Hornets have not won the district title since 2002.

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