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Falcons net all-state honors

Fuqua School’s varsity baseball team produced a season that called for all-state recognition, and that recognition came in the form of four selections, including two on the first team.

Senior Devin Allen and sophomore Christian Adams made the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III all-state first team, and juniors Hunter Gilliam and Clay Osborn made the second team.

Selections were made by seven VISAA Division III coaches after Fuqua’s 9-5 regular season run, but the fourth-seeded Falcons went on to reach the state championship game, falling narrowly 6-5 to No. 2 Southampton Academy.

To advance to the title game, Fuqua beat No. 1 Walsingham Academy 4-2 in the state semifinals and topped visiting No. 5 Kenston Forest School 14-7 in the quarterfinals.

Falcons Head Coach John Adams admits he would have liked to have seen a couple more Fuqua honorees, but he acknowledged the difficulty in choosing all-state teams that properly distribute recognition to deserving players via a limited number of slots.

The Falcons (11-6) competed the majority of the season with only 11 players, many of whom were consistent at the plate. Demonstrating Fuqua’s depth, some players’ final batting averages for the year were .289, .300, .304, .304, .308, .364, .370, .383 and .385.

“You see we really had a bunch of kids as far as hitting for a decent average,” Adams said. “I was definitely pleased with all the guys’ performance. And yeah, I’m pleased for my guys making all-state.”

This was Allen’s inaugural all-state first team honor, and the coach said he received it as a result of his pitching.

“He threw well against some of the Division II teams,” Adams said. “He was our pitching leader, a guy that I went to when we faced some good competition.”

Allen appeared on the mound in eight games. Across 34 innings pitched, he had 34 strikeouts, seven saves, one win and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.5.

He did make some contributions on offense as well, scoring 20 times and leading Fuqua with 12 stolen bases.

Christian Adams received his first-ever all-state honor this year on the strength of his offense. He led the Falcons with a .545 on-base percentage, a .638 slugging percentage and a 1.184 OPS (on-base plus slugging).

He finished the season and postseason with a total of nine singles, seven doubles, one triple, one home run, 14 RBIs, 18 runs scored and six stolen bases.

The coach said that the only Falcon to receive all-state honors last year was Gilliam, who was a second-team selection then as well.

Coach Adams described Gilliam as a true team leader.

“He is a kid that knows the game and can play the game,” Adams said. “He, both defensively and offensively, was a standout. You could see him shine. He was one of those guys that carried himself well on the baseball field. His (batting) average, he ended up just a little over .300, but he was always in the mix, getting on base, doing the right things at the right time.”