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With two outs in the final inning, Blacksburg scores six runs and an improbable district championship.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Who says Blacksburg isn’t a baseball town?
No one does after what transpired Friday.
Hours after Virginia Tech reached the ACC tournament final, Blacksburg High School’s baseball team possibly trumped that feat.
One strike away from defeat, Blacksburg came up with six runs in the seventh inning to post a stunning 8-7 victory over Hidden Valley in the River Ridge District tournament championship game at Kiwanis Field.
“It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen in Blacksburg tonight,” first-year Blacksburg coach Danny Shouse said. “You just never know. This might get crazy down there tonight.”
Maybe as crazy as the top of the seventh inning.
“I’ve never been around a team that’s got this much heart as this team right here does. I mean, we’re down 7 to 2 in the last inning and put six on the board. Everywhere else, a team might quit. This team right here don’t quit.”
Not even after it appeared Hidden Valley had won the game.
Blacksburg (15-7) trailed 7-4 with two outs and sophomore Ethan Goforth at the plate.
Goforth swung and missed at strike three, but the ball bounced into the glove of Titans catcher Joseph Bolinger.
Everyone on the field thought the game was over except Goforth and the home-plate umpire. Goforth sprinted to first base. Bolinger came up ready to throw, but no one was covering the bag.
“I knew it hit the ground,” Goforth said. “With two outs to finish the game, you’ve got to try what you can.”
Hidden Valley coach Jason Taylor did not vigorously argue with the umpire.
“The thing was, it was an inconsistent call,” Taylor said. “He had called four outs in the game where it hit and the catcher came up clean with it. That last time, he didn’t make that same call.
“But we’ve got to finish the play. No one yelled ‘out’ except the first-base umpire. We’ve got people coming off the field thinking it’s done. But again, we’ve got to finish the play.”
Blacksburg still trailed by three runs until freshman Jake Verniel — the Bruins’ No. 9 hitter — bounced a two-run single off Luke Marston to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Taylor Martin relieved Marston, and freshman Morgan McCoy greeted him with a single to right field. Goforth scored the tying run from second base, but not before Titans right fielder Hayes Nelson nearly nailed him at the plate with a laser throw.
Verniel then scored the go-ahead run when Martin made a throwing error on a bouncer by another Blacksburg freshman, Thomas Hughes.
Hughes had more than enough excitement for one day.
He helped Blacksburg to a 5-4 semifinal win over Christiansburg, then he celebrated Virginia Tech’s ACC win over Georgia Tech because his father is Hokies head coach Pete Hughes.
“I watched the game on game-tracker between our games,” Hughes said. “We were excited but we knew we still had stuff to do ourselves.”
Hughes, McCoy and Goforth were among several Blacksburg players who were members of a New River team that reached the Dixie Youth world series in Florida and overcame a five-run deficit to win a game against a team from Tennessee.
“When we went to the World Series when were 9 and 10, we had the same situation,” Goforth said. “History kind of repeats itself. It’s an unbelievable feeling. Winning a championship, there’s nothing better.”
Blacksburg will start Hughes on the mound Tuesday in a Region IV semifinal at home against Bassett. Hidden Valley also will play at home Tuesday. Taylor can use either Avery Pierce or River Ridge District player of the year Ryan Lauria on Tuesday in a quarterfinal against either Tazewell or Magna Vista.
Cave Spring, a 7-2 winner over Christiansburg in Friday’s third-place game, will play Tuesday at Abingdon.
Friday’s championship game had no bearing on the region pairings, but don’t tell Blacksburg’s players it was meaningless, especially after losing to regular-season champ Hidden Valley 4-0 and 10-0 earlier this year.
“We didn’t need to win to get a home game, but we did anyway,” Hughes said. “We wanted [to be] district champs. We’re district champs.”
Blacksburg 200 000 6 – 8 10 2Hidden Valley 032 002 0 – 7 9 1
Davis, McCoy (7) and Goforth; Durham, Henry (4), Marston (7), Martin (7) and Bolinger. W – Davis. L – Marston.
Cave Spring 040 010 2 – 7 8 1
Christiansburg 000 020 0 – 2 5 2
Myers, Huffman (5), Schuyler (6) and McIlwraith; Wills, Dunn (2), Jackson (5) and Quesenberry. W – Myers. L – Wills. HR – Quesenberry (C) 5th, one on, Roberts (CS) 7th, one on.
Christiansburg 000 004 0 – 4 6 5
Blacksburg 220 001 x – 5 4 1
King, Wallace (6), Dunn (6) and Quesenberry; Hughes, McCoy (2) and Goforth. W – McCoy. L – Wallace. HR – Quesenberry (C) 6th, two on.
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