Crusaders score more than enough

Published 10:02 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

First Baptist’s Ben Joslin scored four runs and drove in five runs, including a three-run home run, as the Crusaders beat OakTree 17-2 in a Seven Cities Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal Monday afternoon.

First Baptist’s home baseball field, along Route 460 and King’s Fork Road, has a green monster. It’s not the Green Monster of Fenway fame but a three-story-high tree beyond the left field fence had the same effect on Noah Fagan’s hit in the second inning of a Crusader game Monday afternoon.

Fagan’s high drive to left was headed to be a three-run homer when it hit the tree and fell back into the outfield. The tree’s trunk is beyond the fence, about 20 feet inside the foul pole, but plenty of the limbs hang over into the field and are part of some unique ground rules.

Fagan settled for a double and the Crusaders plated only one run on the hit.

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It wasn’t too big a deal at the time and it certainly wasn’t critical by the end of a 17-2 First Baptist victory over OakTree in the semifinals of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference Tournament.

OakTree, a private school in Virginia Beach, gained the lead with a run in the top of the first against Crusader pitcher Wes Hughes. Hughes went on to fire a one-hit, five-inning complete game with seven strikeouts.

The Crusaders took the lead for good in the home half of the first. The first three hitters at the top of the Crusader order, Luke Ognibene, Hughes and Ben Joslin, scored in the first inning and totaled 11 runs out of their 12 plate appearances on the day.

Ognibene singled and Hughes walked to set the table in the first. Joslin hit a hard grounder into center for two RBI and a single. Travis Quigley’s fielder’s choice grounder to short brough Joslin in for a 3-1 Crusader lead.

The Crusader second included Fagan’s double off the tree. By that time, Ognibene, Hughes and Joslin had all reached base and scored in the inning. First Baptist led 8-2 after two innings.

Thirteen Crusaders came to the plate in the third, aided by five walks which all came around to score.

With his second at-bat in the third, Joslin belted a homer well over the left-center field fence, far enough into the gap to avoid the tree, for a three-run homer and a 17-2 lead. The homer gave Joslin five RBI in all.

First Baptist won by a double-digit margin for the ninth time out of its 10 victories this season.

The Crusaders (10-3) knew Tuesday’s game was going to be its season finale, whether it’s for first place or third place in the tournament. The Crusaders advance to play Summit or Greenbrier Christian’s junior varsity team on First Baptist’s field at 4:30 p.m.