‘Tops in the district’

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A loss has punctuated the start to the 2018 season for Randolph-Henry High School’s junior varsity baseball team, but new Head Coach Mark Heintzleman expects a much different tone to define the season.

“I think we should be one of the tops in the district, for sure,” he said.

The Statesmen fell 14-1 in their season opener Thursday to visiting non-district opponent Park View, of South Hill.

“I think our guys were having some first-game jitters, maybe, playing in front of the varsity team because it was a doubleheader, so we played first and our varsity guys played after us,” Heintzleman said. “But I think we’re potentially a lot better than what that score showed, and we will play Park View again. I’m hoping that we can have a better showing next time.”

He noted that eliminating mental errors will be key to making that better showing a reality.

“We had some physical errors, missing a ball here and there, but that wasn’t the biggest deal for me,” he said. “The biggest deal was just our mental errors and missing signs or just poor base running at certain times, but we’ve worked on a lot of those things and definitely look forward to our next game to see how we have improved in those aspects of the game.”

Inclement weather led to a postponement of Randolph-Henry’s Tuesday road game against Prince Edward. Weather permitting, the Statesmen are set to host Amelia on Thursday at 6 p.m.

This is Heintzleman’s first year as head coach of the Randolph-Henry JV baseball squad, though he served as an assistant coach last year.

The team will benefit from several returning players — sophomores Andrew Leach, Trenton Jordan, Winfield Layne and Carson Gibbs.

Heintzleman said he will be relying upon Jordan, freshman Camron Smith and freshman Noah Walker on the mound.

“Those will be the ones that pitch the most,” he said.

He noted he will look to Gibbs, Walker, Leach and sophomore Matthew Newcomb to reliably produce hits.