Falcons aim for state final return

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fuqua School’s varsity baseball team is hungry to return to the state championship game it reached last year, and the Falcons are off to an outstanding start thus far.

They opened the season Thursday with an 11-2 home win over Kenston Forest School, then followed that up with a 20-0 rout of host Westover Christian Academy on Friday.

“I feel great,” Fuqua Head Coach John Adams said. “The team’s hitting the ball well.”

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The 2018 Falcons are made up of two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and one eighth-grader, but they are a seasoned group that Adams sees as having the potential to make another run to the state title game.

“I think we’ll be able to roll right back in and have a chance to make it there,” he said.

Fuqua will miss starting catcher Devin Allen, who also pitched and was a utility player and starting center fielder Christian Williams. Both players graduated.

Additionally, outfielder Tyler Thomas opted not to return for his senior year as he prepares to play basketball for Guilford College.

But as Adams pointed out, the Falcons, while not a terribly old team, are seasoned.

“We’ve added a few players,” he said.

These players include junior Tanner Cyrus, who went to Hargrave Military Academy and transferred back, junior Jaden Bishop, who came from Buckingham, and sophomore Elijah Warner, who transferred from Kenston Forest.

“We’re going to be able to hopefully use Tanner Cyrus and Jaden Bishop a little bit on the bump as well as outfield play,” Adams said. “So, we will see how that goes.”

As for Warner, “He will step in and fill some shoes as catcher,” the coach said. “He’ll play some utility too.”

For pitching, Adams will be looking to a variety of players, including junior D.J. Williams, junior Christian Adams and senior Hunter Gilliams, who has signed to play NCAA Division I baseball for Longwood University.

“He’ll be working as more of a closer for us,” Coach Adams said of Gilliams.

In addition to Cyrus and Bishop, other contributors on the mound will include junior Frankie Denaro and sophomore Colton Copley.

“Colton Copley is going to be an integral part of the pitching rotation, and then I’ve got the two Osborns — Matt and Drew both,” Adams said.

“We don’t have what I call stellar pitching,” the coach said. “We don’t have that 85-plus across the board, touching 90. We’ve got guys who really are crafty, change speeds and hitting spots. We’ve got guys that hopefully are going to be able to really help us out this year down the stretch.”

The news is quite good on offense.

“Up and down the lineup, top to bottom, we’ve got power and we’ve got good hands that can put it in play,” Adams said. “Just with two games, I am really, really, really pleased with the lineup from the No. 1 hole to No. 9 hole. Everybody’s hitting the ball. We’ve got guys hitting it everywhere.”

From the first to the last batter, the lineup has included, Warner, Copley, Christian Adams, Gilliams, Clay Osborn, Drew Osborn, D.J. Williams, Matt Osborn and Denaro.

The Falcons (2-0) return to action March 21 when they visit Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School at 4:30 p.m.