Falcons Rally In Seventh To Victory Over TA

Published 3:54 pm Thursday, May 2, 2013

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY – The only clock on a baseball game on a field with no lights is the sun.

On a mostly cloudy afternoon, the sun shone just long enough for the Fuqua School baseball team to overcome a gloomy start to its game against Tidewater Academy to take a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Warriors on Wednesday afternoon at Hampden-Sydney's Ty Cobb Park.

The Falcons (11-6, 8-3 VCC), who were ranked fourth in the VISBA Division III poll just one voting point behind third ranked Tidewater, appeared to be headed to their first loss since April 8, before rallying for the win in dramatic fashion.

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Fuqua trailed 3-0 out of the gate. The Falcons helped their opponents by committing two errors in the top of the first to give up all three of the runs (two unearned) they would surrender on the afternoon.

Fuqua settled down defensively and the two teams played one-another pretty evenly until the bottom of the seventh.

Josh Davis drew a walk to lead off the seventh, but the Warriors recorded two quick outs before Jai Jamerson singled. The Warriors changed pitchers with Logan Byrd facing a 2-1 count. Byrd worked the count into a walk to load the bases. Carter Cunningham then cleared the bases with a double that hit off the bottom of the fence in left field, and Andy Ware singled home the winning run with another shot off the left field fence to give the Falcons the 4-3 victory.

“We came out flat and struggled all afternoon, before the bottom of the seventh,” said FS head coach Ted Cunningham. “That's baseball. We fought it all afternoon, and then came through in the clutch.

“Andy had another big at bat for us a few weeks ago against Southampton where he hit a home run that got us back into a game we eventually went on to win, but I told him that I was more impressed with this at bat. He fought off breaking ball after breaking ball until he got a pitch he could handle.”

The two big hits were Cunningham's and Ware's only ones of the afternoon, but they couldn't have come at a more critical time.

“They picked themselves up off the mat after the slow start and kept chipping away at them. [Tidewater] did the same thing to us down there. We were up two runs going into the seventh, before they came back to tie it and win in extras.”

Pitcher Logan Byrd went the distance in the victory. He gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits while walking just one and striking out five.

“Logan did another outstanding job for us,” said Cunningham. “When Tidewater got ahead, he was really in a position where he couldn't give up any runs, because we weren't scoring any. It's tough to go out there and pitch knowing that you have no margin for error.”

The Falcons were led by David Cyrus and Antonio Gonzalez, who were 2-3 on the afternoon. Cunningham was 1-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored, while Ware was 1-4 with an RBI. Davis was 0-1, but drew a pair of walks and scored a run.

The Falcons ran their winning streak to seven games, and are the hottest team in the division with victories over several ranked opponents.

“This league is strong and can hold its own against most in the area, so when you can get a streak going like we have playing the teams we've played, it gives you a lot of confidence.”

Fuqua was scheduled to wrap up its regular-season schedule at Kenston Forest on Thursday, and could claim the top spot going into the VCC Tournament with a victory.

“That would mean a lot,” said Cunningham. “For starters, you get to hang a banner, but with seven teams in the conference, the top seed gets a bye, and that saves your pitching, not only for the semifinals and hopefully, the finals of the VCC Tournament, but it also helps a little going into the State Tournament.

“Maybe we can get another game here,” joked Cunningham about the opportunity to play in Ty Cobb Park. “We certainly appreciate Hampden-Sydney allowing us to play here. The way we rallied to win is something these kids won't forget, and to do it on this field makes it even more special.”