If the balance in the Jefferson District these past two seasons has taught any baseball player, coach or fan anything it’s just what a fickle creature this game happens to be. Tuesday night after trailing early and scoring five unanswered runs, Fluvanna County sat just three outs away from picking up a regular season sweep of Louisa County. By the time they got those three outs they were down by six.
“In baseball you can do everything right and still be out and then you can do things wrong and luck out, not that I felt we did anything that much wrong in the seventh, but it’s just one of those things,” said Louisa coach Kevin Fisher.
The Lions rallied for seven runs in a wild seventh and with Tristan Snyder shutting the door in the bottom of the seventh to wrap up a complete game. As such Louisa was able to avenge a seventh inning rally just like Fluvanna did a few weeks ago and steal a road win 11-5.
“This is one of the most enjoyable groups of kids I’ve ever coached and it’s because they never quit,” Fisher said. “They don’t get down on mistakes and then on top of that, they’re all out there pulling for eachother. It’s been a while since I had a group like this. It’s a lot fun to coach a group like this.”
Louisa came out swinging in the top of the first. Back-to-back singles from Austin Nicholas and Matt West along with a walk to Lliam Grubbs loaded the bases with nobody out. Jack McDonald then delivered a 2-run double. After an RBI single from Snyder and RBI ground out from Nate King, Louisa had itself a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The lead did not last long because while Snyder, Louisa’s starter, had a great night on the hill most of the game, Fluvanna managed a 4-run rally of its own in the bottom of the second with two outs. It started with a leadoff single from Kevin Ward. After a strikeout and groundout, Kyle Algeri made it 4-1 with an RBI double. Two batters later Jack Kershner hit a 2-run double. Lastly, Ryan Groome came up with an RBI single to lock things up at 4.
“You definitely have to throw strikes in this district and they were just hitting it where it was put,” Snyder said. “It’s hard to make plays where your defense isn’t so in the end it comes down to throwing strikes and making sure guys can’t hit it where your guys aren’t.”
The Lions put base runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth but the Fluvanna defense was able to keep them off the board all three times. No play was bigger in that stretch than Kyle Algeri’s defense at second in the third inning when Snyder tripled but was caught at home on a fielder’s choice with the junior making a big throw home on a ground ball.
Fluvanna took its first lead in the fourth with Algeri reaching first on an error to start the inning off. After back-to-back strikeouts the Flucos got an RBI single from Dashon Carter to make it 5-4.
With their backs against the wall, the Lions went to bat in the top of the seventh and got back-to-back walks to Grubbs and McDonald start things off. The bases were then loaded after an infield single to Tyler Earley. That set up Owen Agee who tied things up with an RBI single. A bases loaded walk to put the Lions up 6-5. And on a routine play on a squeeze bunt from J.B. Lamb, an error on the throw to home allowed the Lions to score McDonald and Agee to make it 8-5. A wild pitch later and it was 9-5. Batting back around the order, Grubbs delivered a 2-run single shortly thereafter to make it 11-5 and put what was a 1-run deficit into a game suddenly out of hand.
“That was tough because it was so out of character for us,” said Fluvanna coach Joel Gray. “We’ve played great defense almost all year and have thrown strikes almost all year and the seventh rolled around and the bottom line is when you let teams get free passes it bites you. But hopefully it’s out of our system and we’ve got good kids, good ball players. They just have to get refocused. You’ve got to too because the competition in this district will hurt your feelings in a hurry.”
After getting a pop fly with a runner on first, Snyder finished up a complete game for Louisa with ground ball turned into a double play. He threw six innings and struck out six batters with his fastball topping out in the high 80’s and low 90’s according to the radar gun.
“Most of the strikeouts were fastballs,” Snyder said. “All season the velocity has been there and I’m trying to keep it up there and then add some more. That’s always the goal.”
At the plate, Nicholas, Snyder, Earley and Lamb were all 2-for-4. West, Grubbs and Garrett Duerson each drew a pair of walks on a night where the Lions had eight total.
“This win shows that we’ve finally done what it takes to move on,” Snyder said. “We showed the will to win and hopefully we can carry it on to the next games and take it to the playoffs.”
For Fluvanna, Carter was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Algeri was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Kershner was 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI.
The Lions (12-4) travel to Albemarle while the Flucos host Monticello with both games coming on Thursday.