- Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 June 2010 23:12
- Published on Tuesday, 01 June 2010 23:12
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It was a dream fulfilled for the King George High School junior varsity baseball team. Last Thursday, at Ross Memorial Stadium at Spotsylvania High School, the Foxes narrowly defeated East View 2-1 to win the Battlefield District junior varsity baseball championship.
After losing to Courtland in last year’s championship, the Foxes finished the season with a nail-biter of an ending.
“We gave them the same goal that we gave them last season,” Fox junior varsity baseball head coach Nick Simmons said. “It wasn’t about coming out and winning every game or going undefeated, but to give ourselves a shot at making it into the championship again. Once we made sure that we were in, we gave ourselves a new goal, which was to win it.”
Saving once of his best performances for last, sophomore first-year pitcher Dustin Phillips pitched six solid innings, striking out 13 batters, giving up one run, four hits and four walks. Eighth-grader Lane Ward was awarded the save, as he pitched his way out of a bases-loaded situation in the final inning.
On the other side of the diamond, Cyclone pitcher Nemo Martinez also had a banner day on the mound. Martinez finished the game pitching six scoreless innings that resulted in two strikeouts, two walks and four hits.
“Today was a game centered on a pitchers’ duel,” coach Simmons said. “Both pitchers came out an threw a great game. Our pitchers and defense did a really great job today.”
After three and a quarter scoreless innings, Jordan OrnDorff singled home Brandon Settle for the game’s first score. Although score gave birth to a noisy Cyclone dugout, the Foxes were unfazed. OrnDorf was later tagged out at the plate by Fox catcher Tyler Truslow — and Phillips struck-out and grounded out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
A balk by Martinez nearly cost the Cyclones the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with runners on second and third with two outs. As fate would have it, Martinez struck out Blake Clift to get out of the inning.
However, the Cyclones luck would be short-lived, as the Foxes took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out and two runners on base, Corey Henderson singled in the tying run. The subsequent batter, Mike Hundley, produced the go-ahead run with a fielder’s choice, with Trevor Lyburn scoring from third.
In the top of the seventh inning, with their backs to the wall, the Cyclones faced Fox relief pitcher Ward. After a single, a bunt that turned into an infield hit, and a walk given up by Ward, the Foxes felt the momentum swing toward the Cyclones.
With the game on the line and no outs, in a show of confidence, coach Simmons decided to leave Ward in.
“We’ve placed him in jams all season long, and for an eighth-grader he has done a fantastic job dealing with pressure,” Simmons said.
The move to keep Ward in would soon prove to be a wise decision. The Fox defense went into action as the third baseman went to the ground to field a hard ground ball and made a quick decision to throw to home plate for the force out at home. Catcher Tyler Trustlow stretched wide to receive the throw, somehow managing to keep his foot on the plate for the first out of the inning.
Feeling the momentum swing in their favor, the Foxes remained poised, as Ward struck out the next two batters. When the last strike was handled by Trustlow, the Foxes celebrated the coveted Battlefield District Junior Varsity Baseball Championship.
Leonard M. Banks