Knights Advance Twice

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, May 23, 2013

GOOCHLAND – The Buckingham County High School baseball team killed two birds with one blow with a Wednesday evening 6-3 victory over Goochland in the James River District Tournament semifinals at Goochland High School.

The Knights moved into the Tournament championship game to be played Friday evening at Randolph-Henry. They also earned a birth in the Region B Division II Tournament, scheduled to begin on Memorial Day.

Buckingham's Jesse Hickman, who usually plays shortstop for the Knights, pitched a complete-game in the victory. It was his first start of the season.

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“He came to me and said 'coach, I want the ball,'” said BCHS head coach Mike Jones. “He's been our shortstop all year, but we knew he can throw strikes, and we went with him.”

Hickman gave up three runs on six hits, while striking out five and walking no Goochland batters. At the plate, he went 3-4 with a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to give his team a comfortable 6-2 lead.

Playing as the No. 4 seed, Buckingham, which defeated No. 5 Bluestone 12-3 on Monday afternoon to reach Wednesday's semifinal game, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but quickly gave it back in the home half of the inning.

Dylan Davis led off the top of the third with a double and came home on an RBI single by Hickman. Hickman, who advanced to second on the throw, stole third and scored when the throw to third went into the outfield.

Goochland scored a single run in the bottom of the sixth, but Hickman avoided trouble in the seventh to earn the complete-game victory.

“We came in here knowing what we had to do,” said Jones. “We were focused and had our mind set on playing well in all three phases, pitching, fielding and at the plate. This win accomplishes a goal we set for ourselves at the start of the season.

“We didn't win the regular-season championship, but we are now in the Region B Tournament, and we can still win the District Tournament.”

Hickman also led the Knights at the plate. He went 3-4 with the two-run home run, four RBI and three runs scored. Davis was 2-4 with a double and two runs. Mason Booker was 2-4 with a double and RBI and Cam Johnson scored a run in the victory.

Buckingham played solid defense after a miscue in the field cost the Knights the two runs in the first.

“We've come together and are playing some pretty good ball right now,” said Jones. “We'll need a similar effort on Friday. The good thing for us is that we can now play loose. I think we'll remain focused, but the pressure is pretty much off at this point.”

BCHS Softball Team Out Of James River District Tourney, In Region B Field

GOOCHLAND – The Buckingham County High School softball team was eliminated by top seed Goochland in the semifinals of the James River District Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Goochland High School, 10-0 in six innings, but the No. 5 Knights, who upset No. 4 seed Randolph-Henry 4-3 on Monday afternoon, will be playing on Memorial Day.

The Knights, who should enter Monday's Region B Tournament no lower than the No. 7 seed, were not able to get any early traction in Wednesday's contest against the Bulldogs. A couple of fielding errors gave Goochland an early lead, and Buckingham was unable to recover.

“We had some critical errors early on and got down,” said BCHS head coach Krissy Stearrett. “When that happened, the team atmosphere went away long enough for Goochland to build an even bigger lead.

“Goochland isn't a team that you can let get ahead of you. You have to play solidly all seven innings. We didn't do that at the outset, and they took full advantage of it.”

The Knights will set their attention to next week's Region B Tournament to be played at an opponent still to be determined.

“That was a goal of ours at the beginning of the season, and now, we're in the field. I've been told that we can't go any lower than seventh, so we have a chance. We've played well at times, and at other times, it's not pretty. Still, Monday is a new season for us, and if we can approach it with a team-mindset, maybe we can hang around a little bit longer.”