For baseball, Chris Marshall and the Knights have gotten off to a 4-1 start as of press time. They’ve gotten big-time contributions from two of the hottest bats in the state, Drew Camp and VCU pledge Hunter Vay, along with two ace-like arms, Tyler Bailey and Evan Lester.
Thomas Dale has wrapped up victories over Atlee, Colonial Heights, Manchester, and Dinwiddie, with their lone loss coming to old-time Central District rival Prince George. In a competitive Conference 3, the Knights will take it a game at a time, with big match-ups on May 1 (at James River) and May 17 (home vs. Cosby).
The 2017 Knights appear to have more balance on the hill and with the bat than in recent years.
Camp and Vay have very similar, and very good, stat lines at the dish. Both batters are 7-for-13 (.539 batting average). Both have two doubles and home runs. Camp leads the team with nine runs batted in, while Vay has five to his credit. That’s a formidable 1-2 punch. Combine who with two juniors who have stepped up in Tanner Holben (.364 average HR, 2 RBI and Nathan Tuck (.412 average, 7 hits, 2 2B, 4 RBI), and you’ve got yourself a pretty staunch offensive attack.
“The offense has been consistent, especially in RBI situations,” Marshall said. “That’s a big change from last year.”
On the hill, Thomas Dale has two aces. One is Bailey, who’s pitched to a 2-1 record with a 1.68 earned run average (ERA) over 16 innings pitched (IP). Lester, who will be playing at Hampden-Sydney next year, is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA. He’s struck out 11 batters over seven innings pitched.
With a more consistent offensive attack that’s come up in the clutch, flanked by great pitching, Thomas Dale will look to head back to regionals for the first time since 2015.