Fluco baseball rallies to top Powhatan 4-2

By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

It was the kind of game that can make you a baseball fan. Tension building as the game progresses, with a sudden ending.

By Fluvanna Sports Photography

On Thursday (April 11) the Flying Fluco baseball team rallied with three runs in the bottom of the sixth (in a seven inning game) to take a 4-2 lead. The Powhatan Indians then loaded the bases in the top of the seventh with only one out. A sharply hit ground ball to third baseman Ryan Groome was just what the doctor ordered. Groome fielded the ball cleanly, stepped on third base for the force out and fired the ball across the field. First baseman Kevin Ward made a nice scoop on the throw for the out at first and, in a flash, the game was over.

This game started well for the Flucos. Andrew Ward took the mound and struck out the Indians’ first three batters. In the bottom of the first, Jacob Critzer, the Flucos’ outstanding catcher, batting in the third slot, launched a long drive over the left field fence. This home run was the only score in the first three innings. Ward gave up only a walk and a single in the first three and struck out five.

However, Powhatan got its offense going in the fourth. A walk, a long double and two singles brought home two runs and gave the Indians the lead. In the bottom of the fourth Andrew Ward led off for the Flucos with a double, after an out, Kevin Ward singled to left, but because the left fielder looked like he might make the catch until the last second, the Flucos’ pinch runner for Ward was frozen and the Flucos were left with runners at first and second. A strike out and a ground out followed and the Flucos remained down 1-2.

In the top of the fifth the Indians’ lead-off batter got on base on a hit batter. He tried to steal and Critzer fired a strike to second to cut him down. In the top of the sixth, Critzer threw out an Indian trying to steal third. Critzer was three for three in throwing out Powhatan base runners trying to steal. The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office may want to recruit him.

The bottom of the sixth was the crucial inning. Groome, the Flucos’ lead-off batter, drew a walk. After a fly out Critzer singled sharply. Kevin Ward then drilled a double down the right field line to score one run and tie the score. The Indians pulled their infield in for a possible play at the plate, but did not walk the next batter to set up a force at home. Fluco shortstop Cameron Shields showed that strategy to be mistaken. Shields stroked a line drive up the middle for a single that scored two and gave the Flucos the lead they needed.

By Fluvanna Sports Photography

The Flucos are now 7-2 and Coach Joel Gray said that the two losses were both by only one run. This was an important win for the Flucos over a solid Powhatan team that came in with a winning record. The Flucos have a deep and veteran team this year, with solid defense, good hitting and strong pitching.

In this game, the Flucos used Andrew Ward as their starter, with Toby Sherman and Kyle Algieri in relief. In seven innings, the Fluco pitchers struck out 11 and walked four. They allowed only six singles and one double.

The baseball team was at Albemarle High April 16 and will host Western Albemarle April 18. On April 23 and April 25, they will play at Louisa County High and Monticello High. They return home April 30 to host Orange County. The final two home games on the regular schedule are May 9 against Albemarle and May 16 against Louisa.

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