On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, Blacksburg hosted Cave Spring for it’s final regular season game of the season; one that would give them sole place of 2nd in the always rigorous River Ridge District. With the win, the Bruins would also guarantee themselves a berth to Regionals, a feat not accomplished in four years, when Blacksburg went three years in a row, including the famous defeat of Tunstall, breaking their 56 game winning streak and handing Joe Mantiply only his 2nd loss of his 33-2 lustrous high school career.
This game was also one for the record books. With the win, Thomas Hughes improved to 7-1 on the season, and set a Blacksburg HS record for most pitching wins in a season. The previous record was held by Mark Manthe and Bobby West, both with six wins.
The teams were forced to re-play their crucial River Ridge game from the previous week that ended prematurely after just four innings of play. At the time, the score was tied 1-1.
To no avail, the Cave Spring coaches argued adamantly that the game should resume from its previous point, presumably because they had four games in a week and wanted to save pitching. However, the umpires made the correct call as only tournament games are replayed from the point they stop.
Great pitching combined with great defense and timely hitting, prevailed the Bruins over the Knights 1-0 for their second 1-0 win of the season…..A feat very unusual in high school baseball. The game was even more special due to it being “Senior Day”, honoring Blacksburg’s lone senior, Alex Shimozono, a three-year varsity player.
Blacksburg’s Thomas Hughes battled Cave Springs Clayton Benton over 7 innings as both pitchers went the distance. Hughes scattered just two hits, striking out eight and walking just three. Benton also pitched exceptionally well, giving up just four hits, striking out two, and walking just one batter.
Both pitchers battled one another through four total scoreless innings. Jake Verniel logged Blacksburg’s first hit of the game in the bottom of the 3rd, and Jake Schirmer singled in the bottom of the 4th for the Bruins 2nd hit of the game.
Blacksburg would score its lone run in the bottom of the 5th, or the third time through the batting order. Ethan Goforth got things started with a lead off single to RF and Jack Madigan was inserted as courtesy runner for Goforth. Jake Verniel sacrificed Madigan to 2B and after a second out, Thomas Hughes delivered the game winning RBI single, scoring Madigan from 2B.
Cave Spring did come close to scoring in the top of the 1st, 4th, and 6th innings, where the Knights got runners on 1B and 2B, but could not advance them any further. Great pitching and defense shut down all their opportunities.
Offensively, Blacksburg had four hits, with Thomas Hughes, Jake Schirmer, Ethan Goforth and Jake Verniel each getting a single.
Blacksburg improved to 13-7 with the win and 6-4 in the River Ridge District, finishing in 2nd place and earning a regional berth for the first time in four years.
Tag(s): BHS Varsity