KFHS records momentous win
Published 9:31 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014
When the No. 2 King’s Fork High School’s baseball team turned a close game into a blowout on Wednesday, it also made school history.
The Bulldogs led No. 3 Lakeland High School 2-1 through three innings of the conference tournament semifinal at Nansemond River High School. Then they poured on three runs in the fourth and six in the fifth for an 11-1 mercy rule-shortened victory over the Cavaliers.
Kings Fork head coach Pat Stafford said, “That’s a milestone win for our program,” as it qualified the Bulldogs to play on the regional level for the first time and also advanced them to today’s conference tourney title game against No. 1 Nansemond River.
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The two previous games between the Cavs and Bulldogs this season were one-run nail-biters, but Stafford said his players have a different motivation now than they did then.
“Our guys are in it to make a statement right now,” he said.
They have played in a lot of close games this season, he said, and they want to make it clear they are improved from earlier in the season and are not going out without a fight.
In their minds, Stafford said, his players believe “they deserve to be where they’re at, and they deserve to be in regionals.”
The coach noted some of the players who helped make that happen on Wednesday, including junior Cal Bailey, who had two hits and two runs batted in and also pitched the whole game.
“His work on the mound was very good,” Stafford said, as Bailey improved to 3-1, throwing six strikeouts.
Senior Truman Boyd also had two hits and two RBIs. He scored the final run of the game in the fifth inning, triggering the mercy rule after being sent by senior Coty Ward.
In light of the regional berth, Stafford said, “The atmosphere around our team right now is awesome. The guys love it.”
Lakeland head coach David Devers reflected on the game that ended his Cavaliers’ season.
“The game really didn’t go the way we had envisioned it,” he said. “We made a few errors early, and it really cost us. We just didn’t play the type of baseball we were capable of playing tonight.”
He noted errors allowed the Bulldogs to get their first two runs without hits, and while his team was able to make it 2-1 in the third inning, it was not able to answer after that.
Devers was most upset that his seniors had to go out with this loss.
“I would just say for the year, they really did a lot for our program,” he said. “They really did a good job of helping us try to turn the corner, and now we’ve just got to learn from the mistakes we’ve made and build off of that.”
The Cavaliers were much improved this year in terms of their record, finishing at 9-11.
King’s Fork (13-8) and host Nansemond River play at 6 p.m. today for the conference tournament title.