After leaving the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings, Fluvanna County baseball wasn’t about to squander its third chance in a row.
A.J. Brown, who entered the game as a substitute, singled home Kyle Algieri as the bottom of the Flucos’ order got the final run of the game after the top of the order had done the early damage, lifting Fluvanna to a 3-2 eighth-inning win over visiting Louisa County and the Jefferson District regular-season crown.
Louisa reliever Owen Agee worked out of jams in the bottom half of the seventh, but couldn’t solve Brown, who had grounded out with the bases loaded in the sixth. Fluvanna’s nine-hole hitter poked a 3-2 pitch up the middle past the outstretched glove of Agee.
“[A.J.] and [Justin Warner] alternate starts in center field,” Fluvanna coach Joel Gray said. “We’ve got confidence in both of them. But he’s a gamer. We’re proud of him.”
Louisa starter Ethan Snyder dueled the Flucos’ Andrew Ward to a stalemate, exiting in the seventh after facing one batter. Ward went seven, and Toby Sherman picked up the win for Fluvanna after pitching a perfect top of the eighth, setting the stage for Brown’s heroics.
“I was hoping I’d be in that situation,” Brown said. “I haven’t been very good this season ,but I wanted to forget all that, so I just went up there with a clear mind and then full count came.”
Fluvanna wasted little time in taking the lead early in the matchup. Ryan Groome and Andrew Ward led off the bottom of the first with consecutive base hits and came around on Kevin Ward’s two-RBI single.
The Lions scratched back in the top of the second when Michael Barber scored on a fielder’s choice, his trip around the bases aided by a Fluvanna error.
But Louisa hunkered down after that, holding the Flucos’ normally potent offense quiet through the middle innings.
Meanwhile they tied the game in the fifth on a two-out bloop single to right by Garrett Duerson which scored Agee. Earlier in the inning, Ward had registered consecutive strikeouts.
But the Lions didn’t get another baserunner after that, with Ward emphatically striking out the side before exiting in the seventh.
“Andrew didn’t have his best stuff most of the night,” Gray said. “But right there at the end, when his pitch count was up, he had all three of his pitches working and was as sharp as we’ve seen him this year.”
Fluvanna will host a regional playoff game next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. while Louisa hosts King George Monday at 6:30 in the Region 4B playoffs.