Buckingham Knights dominate Statesmen, advance to semi-final
Published 12:52 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023
The Buckingham Knights haven’t lost at home in almost two months. That didn’t change on Tuesday, as the Knights advanced to the state baseball championship semi-finals with a 11-1 win over Randolph-Henry.
Things started off as a pitcher’s duel, with Buckingham’s run in the second the only score surrendered by either team in the first four innings. But then, after Randolph-Henry tied things up in the top of the fifth, it was like a dam burst open. The Knights put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth and added six more in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win for the regional champs, who improve to 18-2 on the season.
“I felt in the first few innings, we were swinging it fine, but just no balls were falling,” Knights head coach John Toney said. “I felt our approach at the plate was good. Finally, in the fifth and sixth, balls started falling. And when we started getting hits, it was contagious. It just kept rolling.”
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That’s been a recurring theme for the Knights this season. One or two big hits get things started, but it never stops there. Two becomes four, four becomes eight and before long, you’re looking at a double digit lead on the scoreboard.
Buckingham heads into Friday’s semi-final riding a 9-game winning streak, one that started at the end of the regular season. During that period, they’ve outscored opponents by a combined 66-8, taking command of every game.
The entire team deserves credit for making that happen, Toney said. It’s not just one or two. Every player and coach is focused on the end goal of making it to Salem and winning that state title.
A big part of that, Toney said, is because of the team’s seniors. That includes Daniel Farrish, Holden Tyson, Camden Allen, Cam Newton, Eli Bryant and George Hurt.
“They were here when the program first started rising,” Toney said. “They’re my glue. They help keep everybody on the right track.”
Toney also tips his hat to the rest of the coaching staff. John Edwards, Markel Jones and Dylan Davis wear a lot of hats, doing whatever’s needed to help the team, he said.
Buckingham Knights head into Friday
While Buckingham enters with a month-long winning streak, the same can’t be said for the Patrick County Cougars, who Buckingham faces this coming Friday. While the Cougars come in with a 23-5 record, two of those five losses came within the last month. Patrick County bowed out in the championship of their regional tournament, losing 6-5 to Alleghany. Before that, they had ended their regular season with a shutout 8-0 loss to Halifax. Both teams will travel to Salem for Friday’s matchup, which will take place at Kiwanis Field, 731 Indiana Street. As of now, the first pitch is set for 1 p.m.
“The job’s not finished. That’s what we’ve been saying after every win all year. The job’s not finished yet,” Toney said. “Our guys understand all that goes into this. There’s more baseball left to play.”
The other semi-final
The winner of Friday’s game will face off against either the previously mentioned Alleghany or Poquoson. Alleghany smashed through Marion 14-1 in their quarterfinal, while Poquoson handled East Rockingham 11-3. Those two teams will play in the second semi-final, scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. Winners of the semi-finals will play this coming Saturday, June 10, in the championship game at Salem’s Memorial Stadium, home of the minor league Salem Red Sox. That game is scheduled for 10 a.m.