I’m sure you have all heard the saying, “Go big or go home!” Well, certainly no one went home today, but Tri Valley led by Josh Sprugasci went very, very big in a 20 to 4 win over Lexington, Kentucky and all 15 of our players contributed to today’s overwhelming win to boot!

It was another terrific day in Purcellville (pronounced “purr-SAH-ville”) for a ball game at Fireman’s Stadium, with temperatures in the low 80’s and partly cloudy skies. For their second game of the tournament, TVBR took the visitor’s dugout on the third base side while the small crowd filed in. As with our host families in Utah, all the TVBR parents are so thankful the host families assigned to our boys have been so terrific. They all come out to watch, fully decked-out in navy blue, wearing our TVBR shirts and hats, or have custom hand-decorated shirts and painted faces or all of the above! They cheer loud, they clap alot and yell out all of the boys’ names – their car windows are decorated with our logo and the names and numbers of the players. Not only are they cheering us on, but they are all taking video and photographs, as well. One of the host dads, Bob Burkhart, managed to finagle a field pass in order to take better photos of our boys during the game. Another dad is bringing me an extension ladder to the game so I can get my video camera up over the high fences for an unobtructed perch. Awesome folks!

After yesterday’s game, Coach Paul warned our players Lexington was a tough team and would probablythrow their ace – forget about Tallahasse for now, Lexington was the only team on our radar. Josh Sprugasci (RF) started off with a triple to the left center gap. Casey Soltis (CF) followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Spru easily. Noah Robbins (3B) and Jake Dronkers (1B) were out on a pop fly and a liner respectively. Ryan Anderson (LF) kept the inning alive with a grounder to center scoring Casey, but advanced to 2B on a bad pick-off throw to first during Sam Nathan’s (P) at-bat; Sam popped-up to first.

With Nathan on the hill, Kentucky’s first batter grounded sharply to 3B for a routine put out at first followed by a single for #38. However, #15 took his first pitch for an aerial tour of the centerfield gap for a stand-up RBI double. #44 struck out in 3 pitches and #30 grounded out. 2 -1 TVBR. At this point the game had the feeling of being an uphill battle for us.

Daniel Jackson (C) led the second with a nice left field single, and advanced to 2B on a great sacrafice bunt by Cam Santos (SS). David Gomez pinch hitting for Bradley Pluschkell (2B) hit a sharp line drive to center field. It dropped quickly forcing the fielder to rush forward only to have the ball land on his foot, which then deflected the ball over the left fielder’s head, allowing D-mez to advance to 2B. Sprugasci then “traded places” with D-mez with left field single stretched to a double when the relay came into the pitcher. Soltis then roped a 2-run single to right. A passed ball to Robbins moved Soltis to 2B, and then was thrown out on a routine grounder with Soltis moving to 3rd. Dronkers watched a ball sail past the catcher and waved Soltis in for a run, then eventually walked on 4-pitches. Anderson stranded Dronkers with a grounder to 3B to end the inning. 6 – 1 TVBR.

Sam Nathan on the bump.

Kentucky came back with their #5 knocking a 1-1 count pitch high and long to right field. Spru looked up but couldn’t judge the flight of the ball and realized it was going over his head, falling close to the fence for a double. Nathan answered back with his own fireworks and struck out #28 with 4 pitches. #55 followed with a fielder’s choice advancing the runner to 3rd. #12 singled to left for an RBI and #14 earned first base after being ever so slightly brushed by the threads of an inside pitch. #38 roped another RBI single to center, who then took off for second as slow as maple syrup on an 0-2 count to the batter, hoping to draw the throw allowing the 3rd base runner to the plate. Nathan stepped off and threw to Anderson standing in the 2nd base hole but was a bit late throwing home to catch the stealing runner. Nathan then finished off the hitter with a strikeout.

Nathan led-off the top of the 3rd with a monster pop to the center field gap for a 340 foot stand-up double. DJ struck out on a full-count pitch, but Santos singled in Nathan from 2nd with a basehit to right. D-mez found success again with a single to right followed by another Sprugasci 340′ double to center field putting runners at 2 and 3. Soltis took a 1-1 pitch past the shortstop for a 2-RBI single, stretched to a 2-bagger when the throw relayed to the infield. Robbins hit a nice flair oppo to right field, where the routine one-hopper went under the fielder’s glove and rolled all the way to fence, scoring Soltis from 2nd, then stretching his single all the way to 3rd before the ball made it back to the dirt. Dronkers and Anderson left the runner stranded with a pop-up and a looking strike out to end the inning. 11 – 4 TVBR.

After putting the lead-off and 2nd hitter on base, Nathan made short work of the inning retiring the next 3 in order to end the 3rd.

As if a 7-run lead wasn’t big enough, TVBR showed Kentucky, the great state of Virginia and the entire nation just how deep our talent runs. Nathan was able to lead-off a second consecutive inning with yet another double to left field, this one landing around the 375 mark. DJ followed with a single to center and Vincent came off the bench to pinch hit Santos, executing a perfect hit-and-run with a single to right field to score Sammy. D-mez found daylight again with a swinging bunt to the pitcher, but his errant throw took a bad hop, allowing DJ to score easily. Once again the swinging Spru stepped up and watched a wild pitch plate D-mez, then hit a nice single to left for his 3rd hit of the game. Soltis then ripped a stand-up double to left of center for another RBI. Keith DeHollander came in for Robbins and singled to left for an RBI followed by a nice walk to Franco after working the count to 3-2. Austin Piscotty subbed-in and smashed a 2-RBI double to left watching the ball land around the 310′ mark. Brian Hsu grounded out and DJ returned to rip a 2-RBI double to left. Vincent’s second at bat this inning yielded a walk, then Brad Pluschkell singled to left to load the bases. Sprugasci then ended the inning hitting into a double play. This 9-run, 10-hit inning resulted in a 20 – 4 lead for TVBR.

David Gomez at bat

With our bench players driving the score, coaches made some major swaps. DJ got a break from catching and went to left; Franco replaced Robbins at 3rd, DeHollander got shortstop, Pluschkell to 2B, Soltis to 1B, Spru shifted over to center and Vincent went to right; Nathan stayed on the bump. Despite the devestating lead, Kentucky did not let up and the lead-off took Nathan deep with a solid hit to left of center – only one problem: one of our fastest players, Spru, was shifted to center, who jumped on his horse and sprinted to make an over-the-shoulder running catch. Nathan struck out #23 after going to a full count, let #38 squirt a basehit to centerfield, then induced #15 to a grounder straight to first base for an easy force.

The top of the fifth required offensive restraint on the bases as a matter of courtesy at this point. Soltis reached after getting beaned, then DeHollander singled to left, followed by Franco flying out to center. Piscotty singled to center to load the bases, but Nathan popped-up for infield fly rule out and DJ ended the inning with a strike-out that looked curiously on-purpose.

With only 3 outs to win a mercy-rule shortened game, Pluschkell took the bump and quickly saw his lead-off batter hit into a fairly routine grounder to DeHollander at short, however his throw short-hopped a little wide to Soltis and went past him to the fence. The runner taking any advantage possible sprinted to second, where Soltis’ laser shot reached Franco covering the bag for the tag out. Pluschkell then struck out the second and third batters for the save. Final score 20 – 4 with TVBR out-hitting Lexington 24 hits to their 7.

Each game, one player from each team is selected for Player of the Game honors. Yesterday Noah Robbins was awarded the honor and today, Josh Sprugasci accepted his with the announcer adding that Josh tied the Babe Ruth World Series record for most hits in a game (4). Congratulations, Noah and Josh – Way To Go!

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