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July 3, 2015

Junior LL team heading to states with slaughter win

Photos/Chuck Jackson
Greater Fauquier first baseman Michael Rubio prepares to hit his game-winning single in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday afternoon in Little League baseball's Distriict 16 Junior League tournament in Ashburn. GFBLL beat Lower Loudoun 17-7 and advance to the Virginia state tournament the week of July 23, in Big Stone Gap.
Sam Richardson pitched 4.1 innings to pick up the win for Greater Fauquier. He gave up five hits, six walks and struck out six batters.
Brandon Day eyes his first-inning infield hit that plated teammate Jonathan Kuhler standing at third for the team's first run of the game.
Kuhler scores Greater Fauquier's eighth run in a 12-run inning on a passed ball by Lower Loudoun catcher Ben Chagnon.
By Chuck Jackson
Sports Editor

Matthew Beyer ran out of gas Friday afternoon and his Lower Loudoun Little League Junior League team didn’t have any answers.

Greater Fauquier did and when the dust settled the visitors left Claude Moore Park with a 17-7 win and a trip to the Virginia Little League Junior League championship.

The team travels to Big Stone Gap, July 23, for the week-long tournament.

Two years ago Greater Fauquier didn’t exist.

Fauquier County used to participate in Babe Ruth baseball and when that folded, a group of coaches and parents formed GFBLL.

“Babe Ruth was a big-field program and the players that played in it came over to Little League,” District 16 Administrator Lamont Smith said. “We knew they were going to be a force but didn’t realize it would take just two years to do it.”

Ahead 5-2 when Fauquier came to bat in the bottom of the third inning, Beyer still had a lot of pitches before reaching the maximum 95.

But he found himself unable to get outs.

Throwing 38 additional pitches and giving up seven more runs Beyer left the game defeated.

“They saved their best for us and I knew once he was gone they had nothing left,” Fauquier Coach Bob Ritz said.

Lower Loudoun sent two more pitchers to the mound in the inning.

Kyle Hartman and Eric Gustafson also failed to get anyone out, giving up five more runs as Fauquier led 14-5.

Patrick Whitehouse finally started getting outs but the defense played a major role.

Dennis Minter hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. Jacob Chinault got caught going home for the second out and Chris Kiser struck out to end the frame.

Sixteen batters went to the plate.

Chinault (2), Will Coppage (3), Michael Rubio (1) and Brandon Day (2) all got RBIs off their hits.

Fauquier starter Sam Richardson continued his steady game.

He struck out two of the four batters faced in the fourth inning and the first batter in the fifth.

“I wanted to come into the game and pitch well but also wanted to relax and have fun doing it,” Richardson, a rising freshman at Kettle Run said. “You got to do that to have the purpose of winning.

“I gave it all I could and then it was time for someone else to come on.”

Fauquier made it a 15-5 game in the fourth inning but Richardson gave up two runs in the top of the fifth.

After picking up his third consecutive strikeout, Richardson walked the next two batters.

“My plan was to pitch Sam into the fifth but if he got two runners on base I was going to our closer, Christian Hayward,” Coach Ritz said.

Hayward got Tre Bench to pop out to the mound but a routine ground ball to Brandon Day got thrown away when Day overthrew first.

If Day had moved a half-step to his left and touched second base the game would have been over.

The baserunners both scored to narrow the lead back to eight runs, 15-7.

Fauquier got those runs and the win in the bottom of the fifth for the slaughter rule victory.

Minter singled to open the inning and Matt Bacan reached first on a fielder’s choice that saw Minter safe.

Kiser walked to load the bases.

Jonathan Koehler hit a sac fly to left scoring Minter.

Rubio followed two batters later with a sharp fly ball over centerfielder Hartman, who had come towards the infield.

“I wanted to make contact and get on the ball,” Rubio said.

The rising sophomore and a member of Liberty’s junior varsity team this past season finished the game 2 of 2 with three walks.

“It’s been great playing with a really good team,” Rubio said. “We put our hearts into it and came out and won it. We’re ready for states.”

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