By Jerry Reid
Peachtree All Stars Coaches Matt Winkler (12U) and John Thomas (11U) left town late last week with their respective teams, playing for a State Cal Ripken title.
The 11Us finished their work on Sunday and took well-deserved third-place State honors and were recipients of the Don Rose Memorial State Commissioner’s Sportsmanship team award. An 18-1 opening game pasting by Peachtree stumbling block Glen Allen at Churchville Ruritan Field was something that happens all too often, and to quite a few teams. When the Richmond-area dynasty-type program takes the field they are usually the favorite.
Going into the tournament with a 12-I record and District V Championship, the team picked itself up off the floor after the loss and hung a 12-2 shiner on West Augusta, powered to a 16-1 rout of New Kent, survived a nail-biter pitchers’ duel by 3-2 over Williamsburg and clamped down on South Augusta 11-1. And their reward for this run of top-notch wins was a chance to play Glen Allen again, resulting in a 14-1 loss—closing what was by all accounts a very good season for the Crozet team. Regarding the opener, Coach Thomas said “I think the nervousness of being in states and playing the two-time defending state champions got the best of us,” he recalled. Playing them twice in one tourney should be classified as unfair.
Game two saw Jamerson Spence and Will Ferguson combining to toss a four-hit effort against West Augusta. This game featured parts of what this team is, and can be. Spence, Ferguson, Noah Murray and Sam Waldbilig ran off a string of singles and a couple of doubles. “The players went back to playing confident, business-like baseball,” Thomas said after the opening letdown.
During the game three New Kent win, Eric Breeden and Brayden Ross cranked up the defense including a Breeden running snatch of a foul fly ball. Ferguson tossed a complete game, Murray’s double and home run were big and Anthony Garrano drove in two with a double.
Spence went the distance in the tight fourth game against Williamsburg, and helped himself with a first-inning homer. Waldbilig made his only hit count, rapping a game-winning double. And the defense spoke up loudly with key plays by Zack Thacker, Brandon Thomas, Garrano and Jonathan Kumer.
The fifth game against South Augusta continued the superlative scoring, pitching and defensive with a 11-1 victory including a complete game three-hitter from Ross Hardy, and a home run by Waldbilig. The sixth game was a tad closer, but all Glen Allen.
The 12U team was still in the mix on July 4, having defeated Varina 15-5, Glen Allen 7-2, and Shenandoah by a count of 11-1. The Fourth of July games were rained out, and Peachtree lost to Williamsburg on Tuesday night, too late to make this paper’s deadline for a full report.