In the second round of the O-Zone tournament, the Blacksburg All-Stars faced off against cross-county and archrival Christiansburg, who was also the defending District 3 and State of VA Champions.
The game began on Tuesday June 30th at 8:24 PM and went through two different rain delays, and wasn’t finished until July 4th at 4:19 PM, or 91 hours and 55 minutes. Both teams battled through ten intense innings, with Blacksburg pulling out the win in the top of the 10th in what was perhaps one of the longest games in Dixie O-Zone Tournament history.
On Tuesday June 30th, the game started normally, and Blacksburg jumped out on top 1-0 in the top of the 1st inning. With one out, Bennett Shealor drew a walk, advanced to 2B on a balk, and then moved himself to 3B on a passed ball. Shealor would then score on a second passed ball. Sam Helton reached 1B on an infield error, and then Ian Hole drew a walk to put runners at first and second base. A strike out ended the inning for Blacksburg as both runners were stranded.
Ethan Young started on the mound for Blacksburg and was dominant through his three innings of pitching. He only surrendered one hit and struck out three batters in keeping Christiansburg scoreless.
In the top of the 2nd, Blacksburg was able to get two runners on base, but could not score. Logan Vance reached 1B on an error and then Scott Hudson hit a single. Dustin Chermack reached on a fielder’s choice, but the Bruins could not push any runners across home plate.
In the top of the 3rd, Blacksburg scored two more runs to increase their lead to 3-0. Helton led off with a ground rule double and advanced to 3B on a passed ball Young drew a walk and then Helton scored on a called balk, which also advanced Young to 2B. Young then moved to 3B on a passed ball. Hole hit a RBI single, scoring Young. Brett Babcock was inserted as a pinch runner for Hole, and then stole 2B. A fly out ended the inning and Babcock was stranded, but the Bruins had taken a 3-0 lead.
Blacksburg’s first batter flew out when the game was halted by rain and lighting.
The game resumed the next day at 4:30 pm and almost exactly as the game started, rain began to fall. Blacksburg’s next two batters were retired in consecutive order.
In the bottom of the 4th, Christiansburg scored two runs to narrow the score to 3-2. Blacksburg used a new pitcher and with one out, the Blue Demons drew a walk and then Ty Dunkleman hit a two run HR. Christiansburg drew another walk and then Blacksburg’s LF Ben Miller made a double play to end the inning.
Nathan Mathena led off the top of the 5th with a single and then Shealor was HBP. The game was halted again due to hard rain and lighting. After about an hour delay and a flooded field, the game was called for the day, as were the rest of the games that day.
The tournament endured a full two-day delay as the region was hit with hard storms. Play resumed on Saturday, July 4th at 3:00 PM. Blacksburg stayed with Helton on the mound, but Christiansburg changed pitchers yet again. The game resumed right where it left off. On a double steal, one runner was caught stealing while Shealor reached 2B. On a dropped third strike, Christiansburg got the out at 1B, but, Shealor moved to 3B on the play. He then scored on a passed ball to increase Blacksburg’s lead to 4-2. A strike out ended the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th; Helton forced a line drive out and then two strikeouts. One player did reach base on an error, but he was stranded.
In the top of the 6th, Manuel Marrufo was HBP with two outs, but was stranded on a ground out.
With one out in the bottom of the 6th, Christiansburg hit a single and then stole 2B. Dunkleman hit a ground rule double, scoring the Blue Demon runner. A single then scored Dunkleman, tying the game at 4-4. Blacksburg’s defense tagged the runner at 2B as he tried to advance on the single, and then Helton struck out the next batter.
Going into extra innings, Blacksburg produced two base runners, Hudson on an infield error and the Shealor drew a walk. But both were stranded.
In the bottom half of the frame, Blacksburg changed pitchers and Bennett Shealor was inserted to pitch in order to preserve Helton for the next day, if necessary. Shealor retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the 7th on a ground out and pop up, and then Christiansburg hit two consecutive singles to put runners at 1B and 3B. Shealor forced a ground ball to Colin Wilson, who threw to Ian Hole at 1B for the last out of the inning.
Blacksburg was retired in consecutive order in the top of the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th, Christiansburg produced a lead off single, but then Shealor forced three consecutive flyouts to end the inning.
Blacksburg as retired in order in the top of the 9th.
Shealor returned the favor in the bottom of the 9th, retiring the Christiansburg side in order on two groundouts and a strike out.
In the top of the 10th, with one out, Sam Helton drew a walk, and then Young hit a 1-0 pitch for a HR over the right field fence for a two run RBI that gave Blacksburg a 6-4 lead. Hole drew a walk and then Miller hit a line drive double, advancing Hole to 3B. Marrufo reached base on a fielder’s choice, and then a pop up ended the inning.
Christiansburg drew a full count walk to get a runner on 1B, and then on a 2-2 pitch, a Blue Demon hit a hard ground ball right up the middle and SS Young was able field the ball, tag 2B, and then throw to 1B for the incredible double play. The next batter grounded out to Colin Wilson at 2B as the game ended in dramatic fashion.
Bennett Shealor got the win for Blacksburg on the mound, scattering three hits over four innings. He struck out one batter and walked one. Ethan Young started the game for Blacksburg. He pitched the first three innings; only giving up one hit and did not walk anyone. Sam Helton pitched three innings in relief, scattering four hits, striking out four batters, and walked two Blue Demons.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Ethan Young, who had the game winning HR and two RBIs. Nathan Mathena, Sam Helton, Ian Hole, Ben Miller, and Scott Hudson each had a hit for the Bruins. Hole had an RBI, while Bennett Shealor, Helton, and Young scored two runs each.
With the win, Blacksburg advances to play Montgomery County in the next round of the O-Zone All-Star Tournament.
Tag(s): 11-12 O-Zone