HAMPTON — For the most important game of the season to date, Menchville had its ace on the hill. And though Garrett Chrismon was his usual solid self, he could have struggled a little and still come away with a win Friday afternoon.
With surprising ease, the Monarchs crushed Kecoughtan 15-0 in a game that was stopped after six innings. Menchville (16-3, 15-3 PD) is headed to a one-game playoff against Hampton (16-4, 15-3) on Tuesday at War Memorial Stadium to decide the automatic spot in the Eastern Region tournament.
With Warriors coach Chad Ochsenfeld giving some inexperienced pitchers a chance on Senior Day, the Monarchs banged out 14 hits, including six doubles. The first two batters in the lineup, Hunter Martin and Hunter Webster, were a combined 6-for-9 with four runs and five RBI.
"I was really happy with our offense from top to bottom," Monarchs coach Phil Forbes said. "We've been waiting for them to come around, and hopefully we can keep it up. The kids were totally up for this game, and I was really happy with how they played."
Chrismon (6-2) allowed two harmless singles in four innings. He walked three and struck out six.
With his team all but set in the 4-5 game of the Peninsula District tournament regardless, Ochsenfeld went with first-time starter Grant Gurley, a senior who missed the first half of the season with a groin injury. Gurley gave up five runs, four of them earned, in three-plus innings.
Donald Athey, Matt Cowan and Harrison Morris also got in some work, though none of them had much success.
"I understand there was a lot on the line for Menchville," Ochsenfeld said. "But for our purposes, I had to weigh what's important. Is it giving some guys an opportunity who haven't played much before — and maybe won't get to play from here on out? Or fighting in a game and putting some players at risk of an injury or ejection?
"The players played hard and hustled today. We just couldn't hit the ball."
Kecoughtan was playing without center fielder and No. 2 hitter Tim Robinson, who was ejected from Tuesday's game at Hampton.
The Warriors (13-7, 11-7) will be the No. 5 seed in the Peninsula District tournament and go against No. 4 Gloucester in the quarterfinals next Saturday at War Memorial.
The Menchville-Hampton winner will open against No. 8 Denbigh. The Crabbers swept the Monarchs during the regular season, winning 4-2 on March 29 and 3-0 on May 4. Chrismon was the hard-luck loser in both games.
"I believe he's going to be the middle-inning, closer guy (Tuesday)," Forbes said. "If our offense comes around, we'll be fine. We just have to be steady with the bat, and the defense has to play solid behind whoever's on the hill. I feel we have a pitching staff that should be able to keep us in all ballgames."
MENCHVILLE 15, KECOUGHTAN 0
Menchville;211;236—15 14 0
Kecoughtan;000;000—0 2 3
WP: Chrismon (6-2). LP: Gurley (0-1). Standouts: Menchville, Martin 3-4 (4 runs, 3 RBI), Webster 3-5 (run, 2 RBI), Forrest 2-3 (2 runs). Records: Menchville 16-3, 15-3; Kecoughtan 13-7, 11-7.