The Blacksburg O-Zone All-Stars began the 2015 Dixie Youth District 3 Tournament vs. Patrick County. The brackets were drawn randomly the week before at the coaches’ credentials meeting and these two storied programs had the unfortunate fate of drawing each other in the first round.
The two great programs lived up to their past as the game was deadlocked in a 1-1 tie after three innings in a classic pitcher’s duel. However, after Patrick made a pitching change in the 4th inning, Blacksburg’s bats came alive and took control of the game to win 12-2.
Blacksburg led off in the top of the 1st as the visiting team. Blacksburg sent just four players to the plate as Patrick’s Taylor Lane kept the Bruins in check. Sam Helton reached on an error, but was stranded.
In the bottom of the 1st, Patrick scored an early run to take a 1-0 lead. A two out walk, a batter HBP, then an infield Bruin error, followed by a single, plated the run for the Cougars.
In the top of the 2nd, Blacksburg threatened, but came up short. Ian Hole led off the inning with a single and then Manny Marrufo drew a walk to put two Bruins on base with no outs. However, Lane buckled down and struck out the next three Blacksburg batters to end the inning for the Bruins.
Blacksburg’s starting pitcher Sam Helton, faced just four batters in the bottom of the 2nd, forcing a ground out, and striking out two consecutive batters. The second batter of the inning reached 1B on an infield error, but was stranded.
Blacksburg would tie the game in the top of the 3rd 1-1. With one out, Brett Babcock reached 1B on a dropped third strike and then stole 2B. Nathan Mathena drew a walk to put runners at 1B and 2B. Bennett Shealor hit a RBI line drive to RF for a single, scoring Babcock. Mathena advanced to 3B on the play and then Bennett stole 2B on a first and third situation. The next two Bruin batters lined out and grounded out to end the inning as both Mathena and Shealor were stranded.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Helton forced a hard ground ball to SS Ethan Young, who made a great play to 1B for the first out of the inning. Helton struck out the second batter and after a walk, Helton forced another ground ball to Young for the final out of the inning. After three complete innings of play, the score was tied 1-1.
In the top of the 4th, Blacksburg busted the game open, scoring eight runs to take a 9-1 lead. Ian Hole led off the inning by drawing a walk, and then Babcock was inserted as an offensive substitution to run for Hole. Babcock advanced to 2B on a wild pitch and then Ben Miller hit a RBI single, scoring Babcock (2-1). Miller advanced to 2B on a wild pitch and then Marrufo was HBP. After an out, both runners advanced a base on another wild pitch. Colin Wilson reached 1B on an error, allowing Miller to score (3-1) and advancing Marrufo to 3B. Marrufo would later score on passed ball (4-1). Mathena grounded out to the pitcher, but in doing so, registered an RBI by allowing Wilson to score (5-1) on great base running after the throw to 1B. Shealor drew a two out walk, stole 2B, and advanced to 3B on a wild pitch. Helton drew a walk and then Shealor scored on a passed ball (6-1). Helton stole 2B and then Young reached 1B on an error by the center fielder, allowing Helton to score (7-1). Hole hit a hard ground ball to 3B, scoring Young (8-1). Miller then reached 1B on an error by the Patrick County pitcher. Marrufo reached 1B on a dropped third strike, and Hole was able to score on the play (9-1). A Bruin ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg, but not before taking a commanding lead in the game.
Helton continued his effectiveness in the bottom of the 4th. Patrick led off the inning with consecutive singles, but Helton struck out the next batter and then Dustin Chermak made a double play on a fly ball hit to him in RF to end the inning and scoring threat.
In the top of the 5th with one out, Mathena hit a double and then stole 3B. Shealor drew his second walk of the game and stole 2B. Helton hit a two RBI double, scoring both Mathena and Shealor (11-1). Young reached 1B on an error, and then a runner was tagged out at home. Hole drew a walk and then Young scored on a passed ball (12-1). A pop up to the SS ended the inning for Blacksburg.
Ethan Young was inserted to pitch for Blacksburg in the bottom of the 5th and preserved the win for the Bruins via the ten run rule. Patrick scored one run (12-2) on two singles and a Bruin infield error.
Sam Helton was the winning pitcher for Blacksburg. He pitched four complete innings, scattering three hits and did not give up an earned run. He walked two batters and struck out five Cougars. Ethan Young pitched one inning in relief, giving up two hits, walking one batter, and striking out one hitter.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Bennett Shealor and Ian Hole, who were both 1/2 and reached base three times with two additional walks. Both players scored a run and had an RBI. Nathan Mathena was 1/3 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Sam Helton and Ben Miller each added a hit. Helton had two RBIs while Miller registered one RBI.
With the win, the Blacksburg O-Zone team advances in the winner’s bracket and plays Christiansburg @! 8:00 pm on Tuesday June 30th @ Randolph Park.
Tag(s): 11-12 O-Zone