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The Highlanders run at a Group A, Division 2 state championship ends in a two-run loss Sunday.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
RADFORD – Just about the whole second half of the high school baseball season, Glenvar almost at will produced the key hit, the big pitch, the clutch throw necessary to exploit opportunity as it presented itself. Those gates closed with a thud Sunday morning.
The Highlanders played Wilson Memorial right down to the last pitch, but it was the Hornets who made the winning plays en route to a 6-4 Group A Division 2 championship victory at Radford University.
Glenvar left seven men on, lost two big chances with runners being thrown out at third and at the plate, and made the last six outs in a row with the No. 8 to cleanup batters.
“Things didn’t go our way today and we didn’t get the job done,” said starting pitcher Tyler Crockett, one of three seniors for Glenvar.
Eight of the nine batters in the lineup for the Hornets (19-5) contributed to the winners’ total of 12 hits. The only player who didn’t hit, seven hole batter Justin Leary, came in to pitch in relief and held the Highlanders at bay for four innings to earn the win.
Wilson Memorial won its fourth state title to go with ones earned in 1990, 1980, and 1977. Glenvar, the 1994 champ, claimed its fourth runner-up to go with 2003, 1993, and 1974 in AA. The Highlanders (15-10) have been to the state tournament five of the past six years.
“Today, we made way too many mistakes,” Glenvar coach Billy Wells said. “I think the kids will tell you we gave them the game. We made mental mistakes, we made physical mistakes, and it was everywhere. It was on defense, it was calling pitches, it was making mistakes on the bases.
“Too much to overcome.”
Crockett earned the two-out save in Saturday’s semifinal and took the ball again to start against the Hornets. Crockett breezed 1-2-3 through the top of the order in the first inning, but the next inning and two batters in the third were a struggle. He gave up four hits, a walk, and four earned runs before giving way to sophomore Kevin Steele with two on and no outs in the third.
“I just wasn’t hitting my spots, getting stuff out over the plate,” Crockett said. “We couldn’t afford to leave me in there any longer. He did the right thing by taking me out.”
Glenvar finally got on the board in the fourth thanks to multiple defensive breakdowns. Zack Duncan had walked and eventually scored when a throw from third was too low to handle at the plate. Two were left when the last two in the order, Logan Waldron and Chace Wilson, struck out.
Brandon Poole’s sacrifice fly plated the Hornets fifth run in the fifth. Poole, who had started on the mound, figured in on another big play in the Glenvar fifth.
Crockett le d off with a hit to spark a three-run surge t hat sliced the deficit to a run. Tyler DeHart drove in the last run with a single. An error on an overthrow to first as Troy Mitchell was reaching safely brought DeHart around third and heading for home. Poole recovered the baseball in foul territory beyond the right field line, and thr ew to catcher Josh Cale for the out at the dish to end the inning.
“I kind of glanced out of the corner of my eye. I was trying to decide whether to go back or not,” DeHart said. “We were trying to test their arms early, see what we could do. … We’re taught to just don’t look at the ball and give it all you’ve got. I should have never glanced.”
Poole delivered once more in the sixth, his two-out swat plating the sixth run. Leary then retired the last three Highlanders for the win.
Wells spoke highly of Crockett for the last time.
“He showed great leadership and had the kids believing they could beat anybody,” Wells said. “It’s just amazing what the leadership and attitude of one kid can rub off on everybody else.”
Wilson Memorial 022 011 0 – 6 12 4
Glenvar 000 130 0 – 4 6 1
B. Poole, Leary (4) and Cale. Crockett, Steele (3) and DeHart. W –Poole. Leary (2-1). L – Crockett (3-4)
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