Full story: Flucos win Region championships

Full story: Flucos win Region championships

Headed to State quarterfinals

By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

The Flying Fluco baseball team won the Region 3C championships Thursday (May 30) after trouncing the Brookville Bees 8-1.

The game was played at Liberty Bedford High, a neutral field, and the Flucos scored three in the first inning and three in the third to rout the number three-seeded Brookville Bees.

The Flucos will now host Abingdon High on Tuesday (June 4) in the State quarterfinals.

Photo by Fluvanna Sports Photography.

“The three runs in the first [inning] were huge,” said Fluco Coach Joel Gray after the game. In the first, senior third baseman Ryan Groome led off with a solid single. Andrew Ward singled down the right field line, sending Groome to third. On a steal attempt, the throw bounced into center field, resulting in one run in and a runner at third. Senior catcher Jacob Critzer walked and a steal of second set up junior shortstop Cameron Shields. He singled to score two runs and the Flucos were in control.

After scoring one in the second inning, the Flucos took complete control in the third. Critzer singled, Shields singled and Mason Gross singled to load the bases with one out. After a force out at the plate, junior outfielder Toby Sherman launched a long double to the fence, scoring three. Leading off the fifth, Shields doubled for his third hit of the game. He moved to third on a wild pitch and came home on a ground out for the Flucos’ final run.

The Flucos used three pitchers to contain the Bees. Andrew Ward pitched the first four innings and allowed three hits, striking out three and walking none. He allowed no runs. With a comfortable lead, Gray brought in junior side-arm throwing lefty Kristian Negron to pitch the fifth and sixth. Negron allowed only one unearned run. Right-handed junior Walt Dansey pitched the seventh and allowed no hits.

After the game, Gray noted that he hopes his team’s “bats are catching fire at the right time.” The Flucos recorded 12 hits in six innings against the Bees. Shields and Groome both had three hits, while Critzer had two singles, a walk and a hit by pitch. In addition to his big double, Sherman also had a single.

Flucos won May 28 semifinals

The Flucos qualified for the Region 3C final by winning their May 28 game against the number four-seeded Broadway Gobblers. They definitely did not to coast to victory. The Gobblers managed to score three in the second inning and one in the third. Going into the bottom of the sixth, in a seven-inning game, the Flucos trailed 1-4. Their only run came in the fourth when Critzer and Kevin Ward slugged back-to-back doubles.

It looked like the Flucos were in trouble – but an incredible rally turned the game completely around.

Andrew Ward led off the sixth with a long home run to right. A hard hit out followed. The Gobblers needed five outs to go to the final. The Flucos sent 13 more batters to the plate before the Gobblers got the two outs they needed to end the sixth inning.

After Andrew Ward’s home run and the hard ground out, the Broadway manager took out his starter and brought in a lefty to face left hitting Kevin Ward, who had two hits off the starting pitcher. This typical move did not work. Ward walked, as did Shields, to put the tying run on base. Gross singled to score a run. Sherman singled to score another run. Kyle Algieri singled to score the go ahead run. A.J. Brown grounded to short, but the attempt to get a force out at second failed. Groome singled to score two and the Flucos led 7-4. After a couple more walks, Shields also singled for two runs.

Photo by Fluvanna Sports Photography.

The Fluco totals for the bottom of the sixth were 15 batters, 10 runs, six hits, four walks, a hit batter and an error by Broadway. The Flucos ended up winning by an apparently comfortable 11-4 score, but it looked pretty grim for most of the game.

The Flucos started against the Gobblers with Kevin Ward on the mound. He had trouble only in the third when four straight singles and a fielder’s choice brought home three runs. A fourth run scored in the third when a single to center took a fluke bounce over the fielder’s head for a lead-off triple.

Gray brought in Andrew Ward to pitch in the sixth and he struck out four and walked one over the last two innings for the win. As a result, Andrew Ward was the winning pitcher for the Flucos in all three Region play-off games. He started the play-off with an astonishing no-hitter in which he struck out 21.

In competing for the State title, the Flucos are going up against all the Class 3 schools in the state. The Virginia High School League divides all the public high schools in Virginia into six classes, based on enrollment size. As a result, there are six State champions, one in each class. Class 3 could be described as the smaller medium-sized schools. In each class, there are four Regions: A, B, C and D. The State tournament includes the top two teams from each Region.

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