BCHS Claims JRD Tournament Crown; Out In Region B Quarterfinals

Published 4:38 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Buckingham County High School baseball team experienced the highs and lows of sport over the Memorial Day weekend, defeating Randolph-Henry 11-4 in the James River District Tournament Championship game on Friday and losing to Appomattox 11-1 in the quarterfinals of the Region B Tournament.

The Knights (11-9) close out a season that was a little rocky at times, but included a strong run leading up to Monday's contest.

“We lost some games that we maybe shouldn't,” said BCHS head coach Mike Jones. “By the end, we were playing some pretty good ball, so they have nothing to hang their heads about.”

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At Randolph-Henry on Friday, the Knights, who were trailing 4-3 going into the top of the seventh inning, erupted for eight runs in the final inning to blow the game open and claim the JRD Tournament championship.

With three runs already in and the Knights up 6-4 with the bases loaded, No. 9 hitter Austin Seay crushed a grand slam home run about 20 feet beyond the center field fence to deal the death blow in the contest.

“Austin is someone we've worked a lot with over the course of the season,” said Jones. “He has a tendency to cut his swing at the plate, and I keep telling him that 'you're as strong as two mules. All you have to do is use your hands and you'll be fine.' He took our advice on that pitch, and look at what happened.”

Buckingham jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Randolph-Henry in the top of the first inning. Senior Cam Johnson reached base and scored on a passed ball.

The Knights scored two more in the top of the fourth. Darick Miller and John Saxon scored when Johnson reached base on an error and Dylan Davis sacrificed to deep center field.

Buckingham freshman starter Andy Flippen held R-H off the board before tiring in the fifth inning. The Statesmen scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the 4-3 lead.

Jesse Hickman led off the top of the seventh with a double and scored on a misfielded bunt by catcher Mason Baber. John Edwards was hit by a pitch to reach base, and Baber and Edwards scored on a single by Justin Smith.

Smith, Miller and Saxon scored on Seay's home run, and Johnson rounded out the inning by singling and scoring on a Davis single.

“We played really well today, with the exception of the one inning,” said Jones. “We talked about what this game means to us. We were already in the Region B Tournament, but we wanted to hang a banner, and now we'll be able to do that.”

Seay was 2-4 on the afternoon with five RBI and the grand slam. Miller was 3-4, while Smith, Davis and Johnson (two runs scored) were each 3-5.

Flippen tossed 5.3 innings, but took a no-decision. He gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits, walked two and struck out six. Edwards tossed the final 1.6 innings, gave up on hits and struck out one.

At Appomattox on Monday afternoon, Buckingham jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but quickly gave the lead back in the bottom of the first and dug a hole in the second.

“We knew we couldn't let them settle into a rhythm,” said Jones. “We scored that run, but when we let them get in front, we started pressing. We hit some balls right on the nose, and to the fence, but they were just noisy outs. That's not what we needed at the time.

“We stress that you should always realize the situation you're in when you go to the plate. Every at-bat calls for a different situation. They call it situational hitting for a reason.”

Buckingham gave up four runs in the second inning and five in the bottom of the third, and never really threatened from there.

Appomattox didn't give up a hit after allowing a bloop single by Baber in the top of the third inning.

“We did some things, like missing cut-offs on defense that we haven't done, but they were putting the ball in play. When a team is hitting as well as they were for those two innings, you really can't do much about it except try to answer when you get back to bat, and we weren't able to do that.

“I can't be disappointed about the season. We struggled at first, but we had a good, strong finish, and that's a testament to the effort these boys gave down the stretch.”