Fluco baseball team wins region tournament opener

By Duncan Nixon

The Fluvanna County High School baseball team hosted the first round of the region play-off on May 26. After three scoreless innings, the Flucos put up three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-0 lead going to the top of the fifth. The way senior Nathan Gragg was pitching it looked like that might be enough to send the Flucos to the second round. The Flucos added a fourth run in the fifth for a 4-0 lead. The Turner Ashford Knights put up a single run in the top of the sixth. With one out in the top of the seventh the Knights came back with a single, an error by the Flucos and two more hits to score three runs. With a runner at third, Fluco Coach Joel Gray called in his ace Joe Gomez, and he struck out a Knight to end the inning and keep the score tied.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Flucos needed to score to avoid extra innings. Fortunately, they had the top of the order coming up. Freshman shortstop Sam Loving lined a ball into the right center field gap for a double. The Knights were almost certain that a bunt was coming, and they were right. Nonetheless, sophomore Caden Harris laid down his second perfect bunt of the game for a base hit, moving Loving to third. Harris was allowed to steal second, as his run did not matter. The number three batter, sophomore catcher Cody Peck lined a ground ball through the drawn in infield and the Flucos had a 5-4 win. The third seeded Flucos moved on to play again on May 30 against the winner of the game between Wilson Memorial and Fort Defiance, two teams from the valley.  The Fluvanna Review went to press before the score of that game was available.

Gragg, who Coach Gray describes as a cagey pitcher, was dominant for the first five innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven. The Flucos broke through in the bottom of the fourth. The number five batter in the line-up, B. B. Cox, was hit by a pitch. Senior outfielder Tyler Coleman then pulled a single to right. Gragg followed with a single to drive in the first run of the game and move Coleman to third. Gragg stole second, and number nine batter, junior Luke Black, singled to drive in two. Gray advised after the game that this was Black’s first start of the season. This is confirmation that the Flucos have unusual depth, especially since Black then made the defensive play of the game making a back to the plate, over the shoulder, catch in center field to kill a potential rally in the top of the fifth. The Flucos’ run in the fourth was scored when Loving and Harris both bunted for base hits and Loving scored on an infield error.

The Flucos have traditionally been strong in baseball so it is not a big surprise that they are playing in the region tournament and have a chance to make it to the state tournament.  Before COVID  the Fluco baseball team, under Coach Gray’s tutelage, won the state title.

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