PEFYA Minors Defend District V Championship

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

SUTHERLAND – Unlike their previous four games in the Dixie Youth Baseball District V Minors Tournament, the Prince Edward Farmville All-Stars were not able to win their Tuesday night Championship round game against Dinwiddie American in four innings by the ten-run slaughter rule.

They did it in three – by the newer 15-run slaughter rule – with a 16-1 victory over the host team.

PE Farmville's romp in the championship game capped a five-day run over and through what has historically been considered one of the toughest Dixie Youth Baseball districts in the Commonwealth.

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Over a stretch of only 19 innings in five games, PE Farmville out-scored its opponents by a combined total of 62-7. A regulation game is six innings, meaning PEFYA played one inning over what would be just three full-length games.

Though the PEFYA team was able to successfully defend its 2011 championship, this year's team consists of only two players from that squad.

“Most of these kids have been together since T-Ball,” said PEFYA manager David Williams. “They've been working together since they were five years old. Ten or 11 days ago, we started practicing for the tournament, but though the kids were playing on different teams [during the regular season] they've been together for a lot longer.

“It's a testament to the kids and the hard work they've put into this. These kids haven't been working toward this for 10 days, they've been working through the offseason. It's a great group. Nobody particularly cares if they sit the bench or play center field. They just want to win. The parents have been on board, too, and that's a great element that many teams often don't have.”

Probably hoping to break PE Farmville's serve, Dinwiddie American elected to be the visiting team in the championship game. It worked, somewhat. The DA All-Stars scored one run in the top of the first, but that was the only spot of trouble for starting pitcher DJ Williams, who gave up one hit and walked two, while striking out the side.

PE Farmville wasn't down for long. Jason Cooke led off with a single. He was thrown out at second when Colton Copely reached base on a grounder, but back-to-back doubles by Isaiah Dailey and Williams put PEFYA ahead for good. Parker Moore knocked in Williams, and Jordan Smith knocked in Devon Vaughan on a fielder's choice to give PEFYA a 4-1 lead after the first.

Williams retired Dinwiddie American in order in the top of the second, and the bottom of PE Farmville's line-up extended the All-Stars' lead to 6-1. Evan Maliangos reached base on a fielder's choice, and Jared Johns drew a two-out walk to flip the 12-man line-up back to Copely, who knocked both in with an-opposite field double down the first base line.

Dinwiddie had a chance to cut into PE Farmville's lead in the top of the third. With two on and two out, PE reserve third baseman Jordan Smith fielded a near-perfectly placed bunt about five feet in front of home plate and fired it to Dailey in time to record the third out.

The missed opportunity on DA's part was enough spark for the PEFYA Minors. No longer thought of as an “if” but a “when”, PE Farmville put together its big inning in the bottom of the third.

A bloop single by Dailey started things. A double by Williams set up Vaughan, who belted a line drive that rolled to the fence in the right field gap. Vaughan raced around the bases to score a three-run inside the park home run.

Moore reached base on an infield single, and was followed by Jordan Smith, who walked, and Matt Kinne, who reached base on an error. Cal Smith knocked in Moore, and Jordan Smith scored on a fielder's choice after a chopper by Jason Cooke back to the mound couldn't be converted for a force out at the plate, because the Dinwiddie American catcher ran out of position.

That set up Copley, who slapped the second bases clearing hit of the evening. His single bounced off the glove of the left fielder and rolled into a very spacious foul territory. That allowed Kinne, Cal Smith, Cooke and Copley to come around to score to give PEFYA a 15-1 lead.

Dailey reached on a single, and after moving around to third base on a single by Williams. Vaughan and Moore reached on consecutive fielder's choice plays, but Jordan Smith singled just over the head of the second baseman to score Williams and end the game.

“When we got together for our first meeting, we talked about the importance of taking everything one pitch at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves,” said David Williams. “The kids had confidence in one another. We played aggressively, but we didn't have to force things. When you know the guy that's batting behind you will pick you up, you don't have to always try to stretch a single into a double, and play dangerously. We were able to play good, smart baseball.”

As impressive as the combined 62 runs was for the PEFYA offense, David Williams was quick to point out that the seven runs allowed was just as, if not more impressive.

“Our goal was to not give up any walks, unless the situation dictated that we needed to do so. It's impossible to win if you don't hit the strike zone, and our pitching really came through for us. And when the ball was put in play, our defense was able to make the plays.”

DJ Williams pitched all three innings for PEFYA. He gave up one run on two hits and walked two. Six of the nine outs he recorded came via the strikeout.

PE pitching combined to record 30 strikeouts in just 19 innings. Over that stretch, PE Farmville opponents managed just 13 hits and 11 walks.

Both DJ Williams and Dailey were awarded the batting title. Both were an impressive 10-14 (.714) at the plate.

For the second straight year, PE Farmville will move on to the Dixie Youth Baseball Virginia State Tournament.

The Prince Edward Farmville All-Stars will face District IV champion Powhatan American on July 20 at 1:30 p.m. at Parker Park in South Hill.

“It gets tougher from here,” said David Williams. “We are going to see faster pitching, and it's going to be tougher all-around. That's the nature of these things. We'll celebrate this one tonight, but will start to get geared up later this week. I know this team is excited to go to South Hill to see what we can do in the State Tournament.”