On a very hot and sunny day in Radford Va., the Blacksburg O-Zone team faced off vs. Pulaski West in the 3rd round of the Dixie Youth District 3 All-Star Tournament.
Blacksburg was retired in order in the first inning. Meanwhile, Pulaski West wasted little time getting started as they scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Blacksburg was held scoreless through the first three innings of play. Austin Nickle had a hit in the 2nd inning and moved to 3B on an infield error, which allowed David Bears to reach base. However, both runners were stranded.
In the 3rd inning, Eric Heinze drew a walk, Raymond Ladd hit a single, and Logan Hudson drew a walk to load the bases for Blacksburg. However, they were left stranded after two consecutive strikeouts.
Pulaski West added three runs in the bottom of the 3rd to push the score to 6-0.
In the top of the 4th, Blacksburg would get on the board, with Austin Nickle scoring a run. Austin led off the inning after being HBP. After an out, he advanced a base when Ryan Oosterhuis hustled down the line and beat out an error. Nickle stole 3B and then scored on a sacrifice by David Christle.
Pulaski quickly responded by scoring two runs of their own, to increase their lead to 8-1.
Blacksburg was held scoreless in the top of the 5th. Raymond Ladd hit a single to get things started and Logan Hudson followed with a single. Manger Derek Hudson called a double steal, and both Ladd and Hudson were successful in stealing a base. A runner was thrown out at home on a passed ball, and then two consecutive strikeouts ended the scoring threat.
Pulaski added a run in the bottom half of the frame to push the score to 9-1.
In the top of the 6th, Blacksburg almost pulled off what would have been an incredible comeback. With two outs, Ryan Oosterhuis hit a single to get on base and then stole 2B. David Christle followed with a single and stole 2B while Oosterhuis stole 3B. Jake Duncan responded with a RBI single. Raymond Ladd hit his third single to load the bases. Logan Hudson then hit a single, scoring two runs. As the comeback progressed, the stands at Radford field became full and both teams were playing in front of a very loud and packed house.
Leander Wilkes out ran a Pulaski error to reach base and then Chase Keister hit a two run double. With Keister on 2B, and the score now 9-8, Pulaski intentionally walked Austin Nickle. David Bears reached on an error to load the bases. Ryan Oosterhuis hit a hard ground ball to the right of the second baseman, who had to make a great play on the ball and slightly bobbled it, and barely got Oosterhuis out at first by a step.
By winning 9-8, Pulaski West advances in the tournament and Blacksburg O-Zone was eliminated. However, the Blacksburg team put forth great effort and learned a tremendous amount of baseball in the two and half weeks of all-stars. The O-Zone team also upheld the Blacksburg franchise streak in that every Blacksburg All-Star team (in both age groups) has always won at least one game at the district level….Something no other franchise in District 3 will ever accomplish as all others have gone winless at least once. To give one an idea of how impressive this streak is, one franchise in our district won their first All-Star game ever just last year in the Minors Division.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Raymand Ladd, who was 3/3. Logan Hudson who was 2/3 with two singles.
Special thanks to Derek Hudson and all the assistant coaches and parents who helped make this years O-Zone All-Stars a very special event.
Tag(s): 11-12 O-Zone