Warriors fall to Kellam, 3-2

Published 12:46 am Sunday, June 3, 2012

Nansemond River High School second baseman Ty Brown can’t quite stretch far enough to catch the ball for the out during the Warriors’ 3-2 loss on Saturday against the Kellam High School Knights in the final game of the Virginia High School League Eastern Division Championship Tournament.

By Tray Mason

Correspondent

Down one run with runners on first and second base in the seventh inning, and arguably their best clutch hitter, Kyle Moore, at the plate, Nansemond River had a chance at a storybook finish in Saturday’s Eastern Region Championship game.

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Instead Moore hit a groundball straight into the glove of Kellam’s Kyle Morrison, who flipped the ball to second base for the final out of the game, handing the Warriors a 3-2 loss.

“That’s just baseball,” Nansemond River head coach Mark Stuffell said simply “The guys battled, they did a good job, it just wasn’t in the cards tonight.”

In a game that was tightly contested all the way through, the Warriors had the tying and game-winning runs on base in the sixth and seventh innings after relinquishing a slim 1-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Colin O’Brien’s single in the sixth inning scored Kyle Moore and cut the Kellam lead to one run.

The Warriors were unable to capitalize on the opportunity, though.

Ryan O’Hara struck out looking, Blake Eure hit a fly ball to the warning track for an out, and Trevor Riggs struck out to end the inning, with the tying run on base.

In the seventh and final inning, the Warriors had the top of their batting lineup at the plate.

Ty Brown suffered a similar fate as O’Hara as he struck out looking for the first out.

Travis Johnson singled to shallow right field to give the Warriors some hope, although he was called out in the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice hit by Brandon Lowe.

Lowe stole second, followed by a walk from Zach Vann, which led to the eventual groundout by Moore to end the game.

“I felt like we threw the ball well, hit the ball well, good defense,” Stuffell said. “Just a couple calls that didn’t go our way, and the ball didn’t bounce our way, and you have games like that sometimes.”

The loss to the Knights was Nansemond River’s second consecutive loss in the Eastern Region Championship game, last year they lost to eventual state champion Great Bridge, 14-5.

The Warriors still have baseball to play, though, as they secured a berth in the state tournament by winning in the semifinals. Had they beaten Kellam, though, they would have hosted their first-round game in the state tourney.

Instead, they face the much tougher task of playing the first-round matchup on the road, versus C.D. Hylton High School, winner of the Northwest Region.

They will play Tuesday, with the starting time and venue still to be decided.