In the second round of the Dixie Youth District 3 All-Star Tournament, the Blacksburg Minors faced their old rival, the Christiansburg All-Stars. These two teams have a storied history, having faced off many times in prior all-stars to determine who ultimately goes to the State Tournament.
This season, Christiansburg has had the upper hand in both the regular season play and in select weekend tournaments. But Saturday would prove to be different. The Blacksburg Minors kept their composure despite being down 3-0, and rallied to win, and ultimately, hold off Christiansburg 12-9 and advance to the winner’s bracket of the Dixie Youth District 3 Tournament.
Christiansburg wasted little time getting their potent offense started, scoring three runs in the top of the first to take a 3-0 lead.
However, Blacksburg bounced right back, picking up a run in the bottom of the first to close the gap to 3-1. Parker Epperley led things off with a single and after an out, advanced to 2B on a single by Trevor VandeVord. Bennett Shealor hit a RBI double, scoring Epperley and moving VandeVord to 3B. However, a strike out ended the scoring threat.
On the mound, Epperley settled in and held Christiansburg to two consecutive scoreless innings. He was assisted by some great Blacksburg defense, particularly in the outfield on deep fly balls.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Blacksburg scored two runs to tie the game at 3-3. With one out, Scott Hudson and Ethan Young both drew walks to get on base. Both runners would advance one base on a passed ball to 3B and 2B respectively. After a strike out, Colin Wilson hit a line drive single, scoring Hudson and Young also scored with heads up base running on two short Christiansburg throws between pitcher and catcher. Wilson would advance to 2B during the meleé, but the inning ended with a strike out.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Blacksburg’s offense really went to work, scoring four runs to take a 7-3 lead. Epperely would lead off the fourth, hitting a double and then advanced to 3B on a passed ball. Sam Helton then drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Helton stole 2B and then Tyler VandeVord had his 2nd hit of the game, a line drive single, scoring Epperley and advancing Helton to 3B. VandeVord stole 2B, and Helton then scored on a passed ball. VandeVord advanced to 3B on the same play. After a strike out, Aiden Seeley hit a pop up single, scoring VandeVord. Seeley then stole 2B. On a ground out, Seeley moved to 3B and then scored on a passed ball. A strike out ended the inning, but not before Blacksburg took a 7-3 lead.
Christiansburg bounced back in the top of the 4th, scoring two runs to narrow the score to 7-5. Jake Clemons hit a lead off HR to right CF and was presented the HR ball after the game. The Blue Demons scored another run after a series of hits and a fielder’s choice.
Blacksburg kept their offense cranking, scoring five more runs in the bottom of the 4th, to extend their lead to 12-5. With one out, Ethan Young hit a hard grounder for a single to get things started. Parker Epperley and Sam Helton both drew walks to load the bases. VandeVord responded with a hard hit two RBI double, scoring Young and Epperley, and moved Helton to 3B. Bennett Shealor then hit a triple down the left field line, picking up two RBIs in scoring Helton and VandeVord. Aiden Seeley followed with a hard single, scoring Shealor. Ryan Creehan hit a single, advancing Seeley to 2B. Both Seeley and Creehan would advance a base on a passed ball. Logan Vance was HBP to load the bases. Scott Hudson reached on a fielder’s choice, but good Christiansburg defense got the force out at home, securing the 2nd out of the inning. A pop up to the pitcher then ended the inning and left bases loaded. However, the Bruins had taken a commanding 12-5 lead into the top of the 5th.
Christiansburg scratched back in the top of the 5th, scoring a run to narrow the lead to 12-6. A lead off double got things started for the Blue Demons, and after a passed ball and a walk, the runner was thrown out at home via heads up Blacksburg defense. Christiansburg would score a run later after two passed balls.
With one out in the bottom of the 5th, Sam Helton hit a ground rule double on a deep fly ball that bounced over the fence and narrowing missed being a HR. After a strike out, Helton advanced to 3rd on a passed ball, but an out was recorded at home on a great throw and tag by Christiansburg’s defense.
In the top of the 6th, Christiansburg would rally, scoring three runs to narrow the score to 12-9. Epperely, who pitched the entire game thus far for Blacksburg, recorded the lead off batter with a strike out. After a couple of walks and passed balls, Blacksburg made not one, but two pitching changes and Sam Helton recorded the last out, forcing a ground ball to 2B.
Parker Epperely pitched 5 1/3 innings in getting the win for Blacksburg. He scattered 10 hits, walked 5 and struck out 6 batters.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Tyler VandeVord, who was 3/4 with 3 RBIs. Bennett Shealor and Parker Epperley were both 2/3 with Shealor having 3 RBIs. Aiden Seeley was 2/4 with 2 RBIs. Sam Helton and Ethan Young were both 1/2. Ryan Creehan was 1/3 and Colin Wilson was 1/1 with 1 RBI.
With the win, Blacksburg advances to the finals of the winner’s bracket on Sunday at 4pm.
Tag(s): 9-10 Minors