By means of their ten-inning marathon win over defending Tournament and State Champion, Christiansburg, the Blacksburg O-Zone All-Stars advanced to the semi-finals of the District 3 Tournament to face Patrick County. The game would be a rematch of the opening round in which Blacksburg beat the Cougars.
Bennett Shealor started on the mound for Blacksburg and retired the first two batters by strike out and ground out. The next batter hit a single and stole 2B, but Shealor struck out the next batter to end the inning for Patrick County.
Blacksburg got its offense going quickly, scoring three runs in the top of the 1st to take a quick 3-0 lead. Nathan Mathena led off for Blacksburg with a single, and then Shealor helped his own cause with a line drive single. Sam Helton followed with an RBI single, scoring Mathena from 2B. Ethan Young kept the rally going with another single, scoring Shealor and advancing Helton to 3B. Young stole 2B and then Ian Hole drew a walk to load the bases, still with no outs. Helton scored on a passed ball while Young and Hole each advanced a base. Ben Miller drew a walk to re-load the bases for Blacksburg. Patrick County changed pitchers and he struck out the next three Bruins to get the Cougars out of the jam and strand all three base runners.
In the top of the 2nd inning, Shealor struck out the lead off batter and then Patrick County hit a HR to narrow the score to 3-1. Shealor shook it off and promptly forced a ground out and a struck out the next batter to end the inning for Patrick County.
Patrick’s new pitcher of record struck out Blacksburg’s hitters in consecutive order for the second inning in a row.
Shealor returned the favor in the top of the 3rd inning, retiring the Patrick batting order in consecutive order on two strikeouts and a ground out.
In the bottom half of the frame, Blacksburg got it’s offense going again as Helton hit a two out single to get on base. Young then drew a walk and Hole reached 1B on a Patrick County infield error. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ben Miller responded to the pressure and hit a full count fast ball for a line drive double, scoring Helton and Young, which increased Blacksburg’s lead to 5-1. The hit dramatically changed the momentum in the game as the two additional runs seemed to really effect Patrick County. The pitcher was frustrated and hit Manny Marrufo unintentionally, but then a ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
In the top of the 4th, Colin Wilson was inserted to pitch, and after giving up a lead off walk, he retired the side in order by forcing three ground balls.
With one out in the bottom of the 4th, Mathena hit a single to get on base, but was caught stealing. A ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
In the top of the 5th, Wilson gave up another lead off walk, but then he struck out a batter, forced a fly out, and struck out the next batter to end the inning for Patrick County.
Blacksburg went three up and three down in the bottom of the 5th inning as Patrick’s pitcher retired the side in consecutive order. In the top of the 6th, Wilson forced a ground ball out to first baseman, Ian Hole. Patrick County hit a single, but then Wilson forced a ground ball back to himself for the out at first base. With two outs and one runner on base, Wilson forced a ground out to SS Ethan Young, who gunned the runner out at 1B for the final out of the game.
Pitcher Bennett Shealor earned the win for Blacksburg, scattering just two hits over three innings of work. He struck out six batters and did not walk anyone.
Colin Wilson pitched three innings in relief, giving up just one hit while striking out two batters and walking two.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Nathan Mathena and Sam Helton, who both went 2/3 with two singles. Helton scored two runs and had an RBI while Mathena scored one run. Ben Miller hit a double while Bennett Shealor and Ethan Young each added a hit. Miller had two RBIs and Young had one RBI.
With the win, Blacksburg faces Montgomery County in the O-Zone Championship game on Tuesday July 7th @ 5:30 @ Randolph Park in Pulaski.
Tag(s): 11-12 O-Zone