Host-family Falli Kids - Alli, Meghan and Brandon

Our fourth game of pool play was scheduled for Wednesday night under the lights in Fireman’s Stadium against the Virginia State Champions; the game was delayed by an hour due to a back-up somewhere down the line of earlier games. Despite having one more game to play in pool, the tournament math determined that TVBR was already the 2nd place team in pool play and that meant this game would be statistically unimportant for us. With that, there were some changes in the line-up and defensive position assignments: Ryan Anderson (3B), Casey Soltis (P), Noah Robbins (C), Daniel Jackson (LF), David Gomez (RF), Brad Pluschkell (2B), Keith DeHollander (1B), Kyle Franco (CF), and Cam Santos (SS).

The night was pleasantly cool with a full moon rising over the 3rd base bleachers. School hasn’t started here yet, so lots of local families filled-in the seats and of course, our TVBR faithful families and host families were in-force. The home team, literally, was the Virginia State Champions from Winchester so their bleachers were extra crowded. Even though Winchester did not win their regional tournament, they received a slot in the World Series as a courtesy to the hosting state.

The game seemed to start with that slow, country feel – the crowd was quiet, the players seemed subdued – even the snack bar closed early. The Purcellville Fire Department volunteers sat in their uniforms, walkie-talkies at the ready in case of an emergency while unidentified giant flying insects swarmed around the stadium lights. Soltis’ pitching was quick and efficient starting the bottom of the first retiring the side in only 9 pitches, but Virginia’s pitcher also kept our runners off the infield until the 3rd.

Shawn Vincent at the rail

Santos led-off the top of 3 with a nice single through 2B with Anderson executing an excellent hit-and-run play to right field advancing Santos to 3rd. Soltis then ripped a towering hit to the centerfield warning track for a 2-RBI triple. Jackson plated Soltis with a grounder through to center before the end of the inning. 3 runs, 5 hits and 1 left on base for TVBR. Josh Sprugasci came in to replace Soltis on the mound and had his hands full loading the bases with the first 3 batters faced. Spru then induced Virginia’s #22 into a double-play which sent the 3rd base runner home. #15 and #9 then hit back-to-back RBI doubles, then a walk to #12 put runners at the corners with 2 outs. At the next pitch to #2, the first base runner took off for 2nd in a typical 1st and 3rd play, but TVBR retaliated with Robbins throwing to a pulled-up Pluschkell who fired back to the plate for the tag out to end the inning.

For the top of 4, Sam Nathan was inserted for Jackson and led-of with a single to center. Franco then doubled with a nice hit to center and stretched it to 3 bases when the relay bobbled the throw sending Nathan home. Franco plated on a passed ball with Santos waving him in at the plate, then drew a walk himself. With Anderson up, Santos was thrown out at 2nd stealing, then both Anderson and Soltis followed with a pop-up and a ground-out. 5 – 3 TVBR. Austin Piscotty replaced Spru on the bump to start the bottom of the fourth and struck out his first batter in 4 pitches. But with a couple of errors committed behind him, Piscotty saw the lead narrow by a run before the end of the inning. 5 – 4 TVBR.

Josh Sprugasci reads the signs

Robbins led-off the 5th with a hit to center and was pinched at 1st with Shawn Vincent. Facing an 0-1 pitch, Spru dropped a bunt in front of the plate on a bunt-and-run play and Vincent motored all the way to 3rd ahead of the throw from 1st. D-mez then singled to right to score Vincent and stole 2nd with Nathan at the plate who hit into a fielder’s choice. 6 – 4 TVBR. Vincent took the hill and gave up a single to Virginia’s #2 followed by a couple more singles to load the bases with 1 out. #12 hit a liner to 3rd for a force out and an RBI and #5 followed with a walk to load the bases again with 2 out. #25 then drove a 2-2 count to Solits’ (1B) glove-side (he’s a lefty) with a sharp grounder, but laying out, Solits webbed it and threw to Vincent covering 1st for the out. Had that ball found daylight, 2 runs would have easily plated. 6 – 5 TVBR.

Piscotty (C) led-off the 6th with a walk, then stole 2nd on a passed ball to Santos. Santos and Anderson grounded out, before Soltis hit the 360′ sign in center field with another towering shot for a 2-run in-the-park homer! 8 – 5 TVBR. Franco was our new pitcher in the merry-go-round bullpen. #6 doubled down the 3rd base line and #2 stroked a single to center to plate his runner and Franco retired the next two batters.

Despite a nice hit by Pluschkell in the top of 7, no other runs scored for TVBR. Jake Dronkers came in for the save ending the inning with a strike-out, a walk, and finally a double play with the ball grounding to the 2nd base hole, Soltis coming off first to scoop and throw to Santos at 2nd and returning the ball to first with Dronkers covering. 8 – 6 TVBR.

Tonight’s game is the quarterfinal game between the 2nd place American Division team (TVBR) and the 3rd place National Division team – Arkansas. We play at 5:30 p.m. EST. For his performance, Casey Soltis was awarded the Player of the Game award, as was David Gomez in the game against Tallahassee.

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