In the second game of the Dixie Youth District 3 Semi-Finals, Blacksburg avenged a first round loss to Christiasnburg by beating them 5-3 to advance to the Championship game on Thursday.
In front of a very large and vocal crowd, both teams battled until the very end, with Blacksburg coming out on top in dramatic fashion. Every time these two teams play each other in tournament play, it seems to be one for the record books. In two of the last three years, the winner between the two, has not only gone on to win the District, but the State Tournament as well, and represent Virginia in the Dixie Youth World Series.
Christiansburg led off in the top of the first, sending just 4 players to the plate. Blacksburg's pitcher, Collin Collver retired the first batter with a fly out, struck out the second batter, and after a single, struck out the clean up hitter.
It didn't take long for the game to begin it's usual dramatic fashion that seems to occur every time these two franchises play. In the bottom of the 1st, Blacksburg would also send 4 players to the plate, 3 of which would get hits, and a 4th drawing a walk, but scored no runs. Lead off hitter Cordell Croy hit a single, and then Sam Helton drew a walk. After two runners were caught stealing for two quick outs, Luke Goforth hit a single. Colin Colver then hit a hard single to right field, and a third Blacksburg runner was thrown out on the bases.
In the top of the 2nd, Christiansburg was held scoreless. After an out, Reagan Harris hit a single, followed by a Seth Walker double. With runners on second and third with just one out, Blacksburg's Colin Collver got a fly out, and then a strike out to end the Christiansburg threat.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Blakcksburg scored two runs to go up 2-0. After an out, Parker Epperley reached on an error, followed by Tyler Vande Vord reaching on an error. Bennett Shealor drew a walk to load the bases. After an out, Eric Heinze hit a shot into the LF corner to score Epperely and Vande Vord. An out would end the Blacksburg threat and the inning. After two complete innings of play, Blacksburg led 2-0.
In the top of the 3rd, Christiansburg responded by scoring a run to cut the lead to 2-1. Ryan Schultz led off by drawing a walk and advanced to 2B on a passed ball. After an out, Tripp Compton reached via an error. Jason Duffie hit a single to score Schultz, and then Collver got a strike out and a flyout to end the Christiiansburg threat.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Blacksburg would add a run to extend their lead to 3-1. After an out, Cordell Croy hit a single and advanced to 2B on a passed ball. After another out, Luke Goforth hit a RBI single, scoring Croy and then advanced to 2B on a wild pitch. Collin Collver drew a walk, but he and Goforth were stranded after Stephen case hit a hard shot that landed in the diving glove of the Christiansburg short stop, Brady Kirtner. The defensive play was one of the best in the entire tournament, robbing Case of a double to the gap. After 3 complete innings of play, Blacksburg would lead 3-1.
In the top of the 4th, Blacksburg made a pitching change, going to Luke Goforth in relief. After a lead off out, MJ Hunter hit a single. Regan Harris then drew a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd, but Goforth promptly responded with a strike out and a infield fly ball.
In the bottom of the 4th, Parker Epperely led off with a single, but was stranded at 3B after three straight infield outs recorded by Christiasnburg. After 4 complete innings, the Blacksburg lead remained at 3-1.
In the top of the 5th, Christiansburg scored a run to close the gap to 3-2. Lead off batter Garrett Kuchan hit a single, and then advanced on a Blackburg error. Back to the top of the order, Jason Duffie reached on an error. After an infield put out, Dakota Sisson hit a single, and Blacksburg was able to make a great throw to get a Christiansburg runner at home plate for the 2nd out of the inning. Duffie scored on Sisson's RBI single. The inning ended with a fly ball out.
In the bottom of the 5th, Blacksburg scored two runs to extend their lead to 5-2. After a lead off out, Sam Helton walked and Luke Goforth also drew a walk to put runners at first and second. After a fly out, Helton stole 3B, setting up a first and third situation, in which Goforth then stole 2B. Stephen Case then drew a walk to load the bases. Parker Epperley was hit by a pitch, resulting in an RBI, scoring Helton from 3B. Tyler Vande Vord then drew a RBI walk to score Goforth from 3B. A fly out ended the Blacksburg threat, leaving the bases loaded. After 5 complete innings of play, Blacksburg would lead 5-2.
In the top of the 6th, the two teams known for dramatic flare once again created an incredible experience not soon to be forgotten. Regan Harris led off the inning, reaching by error, and advanced two bases on another error to 3B. After an out, Brady Kirtner reached via an error, scoring Harris Garrett Kuchan then was hit by a pitch to put runners on at 1st and 2nd. After a 2nd out, Jason Duffie hit a shot to the LF gap, with a play at the plate that was called safe and scoring Christiansburg's 4th run. During the play, Kuchan advanced all the way to 3B, and was called safe on the very close play on a ball that was thrown from the catcher to the 3rd baseman, making the score 5-4, with the tieing run on 3B (and two outs). Both of these consecutive plays happend in matter of seconds, and at the immediate conclusion of the close play at 3B, the home plate umpire then very quickly ruled the runner at home "out" for intentionally sliding head first to avoid the tag, thereby ending the game. Dixie rules very clearly state that at no time can any runner slide head first into a base, only back to a base.
Blacksburg's Pitcher, Collin Collver was the winning pitcher, pitching 3 innings, scattering 4 hits, striking out 4, and walking just 1 batter.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Luke Goforth, who was 2/2 and reached base all three times he was up with two singles and drawing a walk. Cordell Croy also had two singles, going 2/3.
With the win, Blacksburg will play the winner of Patrick and Christiansburg on Thursday for the Distric 3 Championship. Because Blacksburg beat Christiansburg in the second semi-final game, three teams now all have one loss. Per Dixie rules, a blind drawing was done at the conclusion of the Blacksburg / Christiansburg game, to see who drew the bye, while the other two teams will play each other on Wednesday in the pre-championship game.
Three baseballs were put in a bag for a blind drawing, one with a "X", designating who gets the bye on Wednesday. District 3 Director, Don Gresh, required Blacksburg to draw last to avoid any issues of being the host team. Christiansburg Manager Mark Sisson choose to draw first, and then Patrick County's League President, Donald Blackard, drew second. The ball left in the bag was the "X" bye ball, which was relegated to Blacksburg, and picked by Manager Mike Goforth.
Blacksburg will play the winner of Patrick and Christiansburg for the Championship on Thursday @ 5:30pm. Patrick and Christiansburg flipped a coin for "home" team, and Patrick won the toss.
Per Dixie rules, because three teams have one loss, two teams will officially be designated as "Tournament Runner-Up" and will receive team and individual trophies.
Tag(s): 2012 District 3 Tournament