The Blacksburg O-Zone All-Star Team finished runner-up in the Dixie Youth District 3 All-Star Tournament. After losing to Montgomery County earlier in the tournament and thus, fighting all the way back from the losers bracket, the Bruins had to beat Montgomery County twice in order to win the tournament. Blacksburg won the first game with a dramatic comeback and walk off ground rule double by Sam Helton to win 11-10 in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Montgomery County got their bats going early, scoring three runs in the top of the 3rd to take a quick 3-0 lead. The County team hit a single, put a runner on base via an error, and then a three run HR put MC on top 3-0.
Blacksburg, however, fought right back and tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom half of the frame. Nathan Mathena drew a lead off walk, and then Bennett Shealor hit a two run HR to narrow the score to 3-2. After a ground out, Ethan Young hit a solo HR to tie the game at 3-3. After a second out, Ben Miller hit a hard single, but was stranded after the next batter popped out for the third out.
Montgomery County added two more runs in the top of the 2nd to re-take the lead 5-3.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Scott Hudson singled with one out. Dustin Chermak then hit a double, advancing Hudson to 3B. Colin Wilson then hit an RBI single, scoring Hudson (5-4) and advanced Chermak to 3B. Wilson stole 2B, and then a batter struck out for Blacksburg. Mathena reached 1B on an infield error, which allowed both Chermak and Wilson to score (6-5). A line drive out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
In the top of the 3rd, Montgomery County scored a run to tie the game at 6-6.
Blacksburg re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning 7-6. Helton hit a ground rule double to lead off the inning and then Young hit hard line drive single, advancing Helton to 3B. Young advanced to 2B on the outfieders throw to 3B. Ian Hole hit a RBI ground out, scoring Helton (7-6). Ben Miller reached base on a fielder’s choice, but a player was tagged out at home. Manny Marrufo hit a single, advancing Miller to 2B. A pop up ended the inning and stranded both runners.
In the top of the 4th, Blacksburg pitcher, Ethan Young, kept Montgomery County in check by not allowing any runs. He faced just four batters, allowing one hit.
In the bottom of the frame, Mathena singled with one out and then advanced to 2B on a single by Shealor. However, both runners were stranded when Blacksburg batters popped out and grounded out. The score remained 7-6, Blacksburg.
In the top of the 5th, Montgomery County took advantage of a pitching change and got their potent bats going. The County team hit a single and then three consecutive HRs to take the lead 10-7. They recorded two more singles before being retired to end the inning with the 10-7 lead.
Blacksburg was able to get two runners on base in the bottom of the 5th, both walks; one by Ian Hole and another by Logan Vance, but both were stranded.
Scott Hudson was inserted to pitch late in the 5th inning and continued in the 6th. Hudson was able to retire the Montgomery County side after facing four batters. One batter reached on a ground ball single, but was stranded.
Blacksburg rallied in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at 10-10. Mathena led off with a single and then Shealor followed with a single of his own, advancing Mathena to 2B. With no outs, Helton hit a RBI line drive single, scoring Mathena (10-8) and moved Shealor to 2B. Young reached 1B on a fielder’s choice, and advanced Shealor to 3B. Young promptly stole 2B and after a strike out and the 2nd out of the inning, Miller reached 1B on an infield error, which allowed Shealor and Young to both score, which tied the game at 10-10. Marruffo reached 1B on a second infield error, but he and Miller were stranded after a ground out that ended the inning.
The game went into extra innings, and Hudson retired the Montgomery side in consecutive order by strike out, ground out, and pop up.
In the bottom of the 7th, Hudson helped his own cause by leading off with a single. Dustin Chermak was inserted to pinch run and then Mathena hit his third hit of the game, a single, advancing Chermak to 2B. Helton then ended the game with his third hit of the game, a walk off RBI ground rule double, scoring Chermak for the dramatic 11-10 win.
Scott Hudson got the win on the mound for Blacksburg, pitching two and 1/3 innings. He surrendered just one hit, struck out two batters, walked one, and did not allow an earned run.
Offensively, Blacksburg scored 11 runs off 17 hits. The Bruins were led by Nathan Mathena, who was 3/4 with three singles and two runs scored. Sam Helton and Bennett Shealor were both 3/5. Helton had two doubles and a single while Shealor had two singles and a HR. Shealor scored two runs while Helton scored one. Ethan Young added two hits, a single, a HR, and scored two runs. Scott Hudson had two singles and scored a run. Colin Wilson, Dustin Chermak, Manny Marruffo, and Ben Miller each added a hit. Chermak scored two runs, including the winning one.
The Blacksburg win forced the “if necessary game”, which didn’t start until nearly 9:30 PM. Blacksburg won the coin toss and elected to be the “home” team. However, the Bruins made too many errors, giving the potent Montgomery County offense too many extra outs for which to score runs. And score runs they did, beating Blacksburg 19-10 to claim the District 3 Championship and represent the District in the Dixie Youth State Tournament in South Boston, VA.
Montgomery County wasted little time showing their offensive prowess, hitting a HR in the top of the 1st inning to take a quick 1-0 lead. Blacksburg, meanwhile, was kept in check and retired in consecutive order in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs in the top of the 2nd, Montgomery County hit a single and then the next batter reached base on a dropped fly ball, which would have ended the inning. A single then scored a run for Montgomery County to extend their lead to 2-0.
Blacksburg fought back in the bottom of the 2nd on a three run HR by Manny Marruffo. Ethan Young led off with a single and after an out, Ben Miller reached on an infield error. Marruffo’s three run shot gave Blacksburg a 3-2 lead. After a strike out, Scott Hudson hit a hard line drive single and then Dustin Chermak hit a single to put two runners on base, but both were stranded on a pop up to end the inning.
Montgomery County added five runs in the top of the 3rd to take a commanding 7-3 lead. A lead off single, a walk, and then dropped infield fly ball, loaded the bases for the County team. The next batter reached 1B on an infield error, allowing a run to score (3-3). A line drive double brought home two more runs as the County took a 5-3 lead. A ground out produced an RBI run (6-3) and then another County batter reached on an infield error, allowing a run to score (7-3). The next two batters were retired in order to end the inning for Montgomery County.
Brett Babcock led off the bottom of the 3rd with a line drive single and advanced to 2B on a balk call. Babcock then stole 3B. Mathena hit a ground ball RBI out, scoring Babcock (7-4). After a second out, Sam Helton hit a line drive double and then he advanced to 3B on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch (7-5). A ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
Montgomery County added six more runs in the top of the 4th to extend their lead to 13-5. A walk and a single put two runners on with no outs. After an out, a player was HBP, which loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly scored a run for the County (8-5) and then a single brought home two more runs for a 10-5 lead. A two run HR added two more runs for Montgomery County (12-5) and then a double and a Blacksburg error scored another run (13-5). Parker Hale came into to pitch in relief and promptly retired the next two batters by ground out.
Blacksburg added a run in the bottom of the running to make the score 13-6. With two outs, Dustin Chermak hit single to get on base and then advanced to 2B on a balk call. Hudson hit a line drive double, scoring Chermak (13-6), but then the next batter popped out to end the inning and strand Hudson.
Sam Helton pitched the 5th inning, facing just four batters. Brett Babcock made a great defensive play in right field, throwing out a County runner at 1B on a hard single. Helton struck out the next batter and then a player reached base on yet another Blacksburg infield error. The player was thrown out at 2B, however, by catcher Bennett Shealor, on a steal attempt, which ended the inning.
Blacksburg did not stop fighting, as they plated two more runs in the bottom of the 5th to narrow the lead to 13-8. Shealor hit a single to start off the inning and after a fly out, Young hit a hard ground ball single, advancing Shealor to 2B. Both players stole 3B and 2B respectively in a double steal attempt. Hole then hit a ground rule double, scoring both players (13-8). Babcock was inserted to pinch run for Hole and a runner was caught stealing. Ben Miller drew a walk and then a single by Marruffo advanced Miller to 2B. Both runners stole 3B and 2B on a double steal. However, a line out ended the inning and scoring opportunity for Blacksburg.
Montgomery County got their bats going again in the top of the 6th, scoring six more runs to increase their lead to 19-8.
Blacksburg tried to rally in the bottom of the 6th, but it would not be enough. With one out, Mathena hit a single and then Shealor drew a walk. Helton hit a RBI line drive single, scoring Mathena (19-9) and advanced Shealor to 2B. After an out, Shealor scored on a RBI single by Bret Babcock (19-10). A fly out to right field ended the inning and game for Blacksburg.
Offensively, Blacksburg scored 10 runs off 15 hits. The Bruins were led by Manny Marrufo, who was 2/3 with a single and a HR. Bret Babcock was 2/2 with two singles. Scott Hudson, Dustin Chermak, and Ethan Young, were also 2/3. Sam Helton was 2/4 while Nathan Mathena, Bennett Shealor, and Ian Hole each added a hit.
The Blacksburg O-Zone team finished the 2015 Dixie Youth District 3 Tournament as the District Runner-up. The Bruins had a very difficult path to the championship, having to play Patrick County twice, Christiansburg in a 10 inning slug fest, and ultimately, Montgomery County three times. The team should be very proud of what they were able to accomplish.
Congratulations to the Montgomery County O-Zone team for their District Championship and the right to represent our district at the State Tournament in South Boston, Va.
Tag(s): 11-12 O-Zone