Dolby DeForge at batThe Flying Flucos baseball team started strong on Friday (April 14) against the Albemarle Patriots, but two three-run innings by Albemarle were the Flucos’ undoing. The Flucos ultimately lost the game 2-6.

In the first inning, the Albemarle lead-off batter lined a ball to short center field and Fluco centerfielder Dashon Carter made a diving, sliding catch to record the first out of the game. It is a rare occurrence for the defensive play of the game to occur on the first at bat of the contest, but that was the case in this game. Fluco pitcher Shaun Holyfield retired the side in order with the help of Carter’s catch and two ground outs.

In the bottom of the first, after a pop out and a strikeout, third baseman Jacob Critzer came to the plate for the Flucos. He lofted a high fly to left center that initially looked like it would be an easy out, but the ball just kept carrying and the Patriot’s left fielder could do nothing but watch as the ball cleared the fence for a homerun to give the Flucos a 1-0 lead. Critzer’s home run would be the only extra base hit of the game. 

In the top of the second inning, Holyfield used his fastball and curve to strikeout the side. In the bottom of the second, the Flucos loaded the bases with one out on singles by second baseman Austin Brown, shortstop Kyle Algieri and Holyfield. Right fielder Colby DeForge then lofted a fly ball to short left field. It was not certain that the ball was deep enough to score the runner from third, but Coach Mike Sheridan sent Brown home. The throw from left field was slightly off line and had to be cut. As a result, Brown scored easily. The cut-off man alertly fired to third to nail Algieri to end the inning. 

In the top of the third inning, Albemarle got what would be enough to win. They scored three runs on four singles. After each single, the runner moved from first to second only to be brought home on the following single. The lead-off batter singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.  After a strikeout and a fly-out, the Patriots got their first run on their second hit of the game.This baserunner stole second. He scored on the following batter’s single. That baserunner moved to second on a balk call. He scored the third run of the inning on the fourth single of the inning. The Patriots’ hits were not scorchers, but rather were soft, well-placed dinks. But nonetheless, as Sheridan noted after the game, “that’s baseball.”

Unfortunately for the Flucos their bats went completely silent after the second inning and they went up and down in order in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Patriots added a solid bundle of insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning. Five singles and a sacrifice fly added three more runs and effectively put the game away. Again, the Patriots did not hammer the ball, as three of their five hits were of the infield variety, including a bunt and a very slowly hit ball to short and a bad hop ground ball.

After the game Sheridan complimented Albemarle for playing hard, as they were coming off a bad loss. In contrast, the Flucos were coming off an exhilarating 8-7 win over Orange County on Thursday night. Sheridan also reported that his squad just returned from a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, where they lost their first game and then ran off three consecutive wins. Sheridan noted that his team played well defensively against Albemarle, but simply could not generate any offensive after the first two innings. He noted that he has a team with some experienced seniors and a number of younger players, who are still getting comfortable.

On April 18 and April 20 the Flucos will be away, playing at Monticello High and Albemarle. They then return home for three consecutive games hosting Spotswood High on April 24, Charlottesville High on April 25 and Louisa County on April 27.