Fuqua Tops Southampton In Extra Innings
Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012
FARMVILLE – Though it was just the season-opener, the Fuqua School baseball team has already shown it has a flair for the dramatic. The Falcons needed extra innings, but scored a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Virginia Commonwealth Conference foe Southampton Academy.
Down to its last out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Falcons managed to load the bases on three consecutive walks, which advanced Carter Cunningham to third. He would score on what was ruled a balk by the base umpire.
The coach at third base pointed it out just as the umpire called it, which prompted a nearly 15-minute discussion in protest from the Southampton coach. The run was allowed to stand, and afterward, Fuqua reliever Davis Cyrus retired the Raiders in order to set up the bottom of the eighth.
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Logan Byrd reached base on a fielder's choice and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jai Jamerson drew a walk with two outs that set up senior Landon Allen, who hit a screaming line drive down the first base line for the game winning RBI.
“I was watching the batter [David Templeton],” said Fuqua head coach Ted Cunningham. “The thought was to have Carter draw a throw down to third and steal a run, but the balk was called.
“I'm proud of how the guys hung in there at the plate. We drew three walks when we were down to our last out. I'm also proud of Landon. He's been going through a little slump at the plate coming off basketball season, and this is the type of thing that can break that.”
After giving up two runs in the first and another pair in the top of the second, Fuqua took the lead for the first time with a five-run inning in the bottom half of the second, and nursed it into the late innings, while dancing out of trouble several times before Southampton scored the tying run in the top of the fifth.
Fuqua had its chances in the bottom of the fifth and sixth. The Falcons let a golden opportunity slip by with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the sixth.
That appeared to be all the window the Raiders needed, as they retook the lead with a single run in the top of the seventh, which set up Fuqua's late comeback.
“Our bats came alive at a good time,” said Cunningham. “It was frustrating, because we created several opportunities, but weren't able to cash in on them. We were finally able to string something together there at the end.
“This is a good win for us. Southampton is one of the better teams in the conference, so it's a good confidence builder for us.”
Cunningham led the way at the plate for the Falcons by going 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, and a pair of walks.
Jamerson was 1-3 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI and drew three walks.
Fuqua managed just six hits as a team, but did much of its damage after drawing 12 walks.
Davis pitched the final four innings in relief of Allen and took the victory.
“Given the time of year, I probably threw Allen an inning longer than I wanted, but he did well, and Davis came in and did a good job of showing them a change of pace. Not bad for the first time out.”
Fuqua's been building for this season for a number of years, and though the squad is still relatively young, the Falcons should be in position to finish in the upper half of the standings, and in the conversation for the league championship.
“This year, we have more depth in pitching,” said Cunningham, “and I think that's going to be a big plus for us. Sometimes, we would start off well last year, and get to a point in the game where we didn't have any options. I don't think that's the case this year.
“We've been around one-another for a couple of seasons now, so we should know what we have, and hopefully it's good enough to have a good season.”