By virtue of their # 5 seed, the Blacksburg Varsity had to travel to # 4 seed Patrick County for the first round of the Conference 32 playoffs. The long drive to Stuart down Route 8 would be a tough hurdle for the Bruins. Led by Pitcher Morgan McCoy on the mound, the Bruins were looking for revenge for their earlier season loss to the Cougars and advance to the conference semi-finals. McCoy held Patrick to just one run and the offense strung together enough hits to beat Patrick 3-1 in a classic pitcher’s duel.
The visiting Bruins sent six batters to the plate in the top of the 1st, but could not push a run across. With two outs, Ben Anstorm reached on an error and then Ethan Goforth drew a walk. However, a ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
McCoy was dominant from the start; facing just four batters in the bottom of the 1st. The lead off batter singled, but he was stranded.
Tyler Davis singled in the top of the 2nd with two outs, but was stranded. Meanwhile, McCoy retired the Patrick County side in consecutive order on just ten pitches, striking out two of the three batters.
In the top of the 3rd, Seb Cianelli crew a lead off walk and after an out, Anstrom got on base via a walk, but both were stranded when the next batter grounded out.
McCoy faced just three batters again in the bottom of the frame. A lead off single put a runner on base, but then he was caught stealing and McCoy retired the next two batters.
Blacksburg would put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the 4th inning, scoring a run to take the 1-0 lead. With one out, Jake Verniel hit a ground ball single, but was forced out at 2B on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Jake Schirmer. After a second out, Davis hit a timely RBI double to CF, scoring Schirmer for the 1-0 lead. The next batter struck out looking to end the inning for the Bruins.
Patrick would tie the game in the bottom of the 5th, 1-1. A lead off double and then a batter reached base on an infield error to put runners at the corners with no outs, setting up the Cougars for a potentially big inning. McCoy struck out the next batter for a big out, which kept any runners from advancing, and then a Cougar singled past 3B, scoring the runner from third base. McCoy came back and struck out the next batter, and then forced a fly out to get out of the Bruins out of the jam.
The Bruins would threaten again in the top of the 6th. With one out, Verniel had a bunt single and then Schirmer singled to RF, advancing Verniel to 3B. The next runner struck out, but then Hunter Radford drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. The next batter, however, struck out, leaving the bases loaded and ending the scoring opportunity for Blacksburg.
McCoy struck out the lead off batter in the bottom of the frame and then the second batter reached 1B on a dropped third strike. His presence on the bases wasn’t’ long as McCoy picked him off at 1B for the second out. After a single to RF, McCoy retired the next batter on a ground ball to shortstop to end the inning.
Blacksburg threatened again in the top of the 7th. With one out, Anstrom reached 1B on an infield error and Goforth singled to CF to put runners at 1B and 2B. However, a strike out and fly out ended the chances for the Bruins, stranding both runners.
Patrick sent four batters to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and nearly won the game in exciting fashion. A lead off single to CF put a runner on base with no outs, but then McCoy struck out the next batter for the first out of the inning. A balk was called on the next batter, advancing the runner to 2B. The runner advanced to 3B on an infield ground out. With the runner at 3B with two outs, a hit would win the game for Patrick, but McCoy ended the threat when he forced a ground out to short stop for the third out, and to send the game into extra innings.
Blacksburg wasted little time in the extra frame, scoring two runs in the top of the 8th to take a 3-1 lead. Schirmer led off the inning with a single to LF and then advanced to 2B on a passed ball. Davis singled to RF, scoring Schirmer to break the tie and give Blacksburg a 2-1 lead. Radford then bunted for a single, advancing Davis to 2B. Davis and Radford advanced a base on a double steal, and then Cianelli hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Davis from 3B. A fly out and strike out ended the inning for the Bruins, but not before they took a 3-1 lead with just a half inning to potentially play.
That half inning was short lived as McCoy retired the Cougar side in order, striking out all three batters on just fifteen pitches. He pitched all eight innings for the Bruins, scattering seven hits, striking out 14 batters, and did not walk anyone. Patrick’s run was unearned.
Offensively, Tyler Davis was 3/4 with an RBI. Jake Verniel and Jake Schirmer were both 2/4. Schirmer scored two runs. Ethan Goforth, and Hunter Radford each added a hit.
With the win, the Blacksburg Varsity advances to play Hidden Valley in the Conference semi-finals on Wednesday in Roanoke. Head Coach Danny Shouse said "What a game by Morgan McCoy on the bump. He gets it done when we need him. We just have to keep playing good baseball and take the games one at a time. This game was huge because of the distance we had to travel and our backs were up against the wall. I'm proud of the kids."
Tag(s): BHS Varsity