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After punching state tourney ticket with two region wins, PV boys have unfinished business

South Boston News
Senior outfielder Trevor Tanner makes hard contact on this pitch in Wednesday’s game with Lakeland, but the ball was caught for an out. (Steve Hinzman photos)
SoVaNow.com / May 29, 2019
For the first time in decades, the Park View Dragons baseball team is headed for the VHSL state tournament. However, there is still some unfinished business to take care of first.

The Dragons, #1 seed in the VHSL Class 3A East Region tournament, hosted the Lakeland Cavaliers on Wednesday, May 22 and although it was a bit of a nailbiter, the Dragons got the 1-0 win to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinal round, the Dragons were forced to hold off a charging Colonial Heights team in besting the Colonials 4-3 on Friday at PVHS.

The Dragons will next host the #2 seeded Tabb Tigers for the regional championship on Wednesday, May 29 at PVHS. The Tigers, boasting an 18-3 record, defeated New Kent and then Southampton to make it to the regional championship game.

On May 22, the Dragons hosted the Lakeland Cavaliers of Suffolk. The Cavaliers came into the game sporting a 4-16 record and, on paper, looked to be an easy victim for the 20-1 Dragons — but looks can be deceiving.

Senior Mason Mills started on the mound for the Dragons and pitched a complete game shutout. Over seven innings Mills threw 64 pitches, struck out four, allowed no walks and no runs on just four hits. His control was excellent as 51 of the 64 pitches thrown were strikes.

Offensively, the Dragons struggled to make contact with the ball as Cavalier pitcher N. Boone bedeviled Park View with a variety of off-speed pitches. Boone pitched six innings for the Cavaliers, threw 77 pitches, struck out four, walked one, allowed one run on one hit and induced nine flyouts and ground outs.

The Dragons’ lone run — the game winner — came in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron Sheets led off the side with a double to left field. Jaison Dugger then grounded into a fielder’s choice at second and Sheets advanced to third on the play. Dragon catcher Brandon Rolfe rapped a shot to short for the second fielder’s choice of the inning, scoring Sheets for what turned out to be the game winning RBI.



Dragons outlast Colonials to reach regional final and qualify for state tournament

With the win over Lakeland, Park View advanced to the tournament semifinal round to host Colonial Heights, the third time this season the two teams have met. In their earlier games, Park View won both times, by scores of 11-1 in the season opener March 11 at Colonial Heights, and again on April 29 when the Dragons won 8-0 at home.

There’s an old maxim in sports that says “it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row,” and that proved to be the case here as the Dragons had work hard and settle for a tight 4-3 win after trailing the Colonials into the fifth inning.

The Colonials scored two runs in the top of the second inning, thanks to a series of uncharacteristic errors by the Dragons. Things started dismally for PV in the frame when Dragon infielder J. Clary made back-to-back errors, allowing Colonial Heights to put runners at the corners with no outs. After a bunt put both runners in scoring position, Cavalier senior infielder C. Bride bunted and Park View pitcher Justyn Hudson committed an error that allowed both runs to score.

True to form, however, the Dragons retained their composure and settled down and got out of the inning without further damage.

Trailing 2-0 coming into the bottom of the fifth, the Dragons knew that it was “go” time. At the plate, J. Hudson atoned for his earlier error on the mound by ripping a deep line drive to right for a triple. Senior outfielder Trevor Tanner stepped into the box and sent an RBI rocket to left for a double, scoring Hudson.

Next up to the plate, J. Clary hit a grounder to short, advancing Tanner to third but taking the out at first. Senior second baseman Jarrett Hamby then hit a deep fly ball to center for the RBI sacrifice, scoring Tanner and tying the game at 2-2.

With two outs on the board and the bases empty, the Dragons were looking for some fireworks and they got them. C. Sheets stepped into the box for Park View and the Colonials, knowing Sheets could beat them with one swing, pitched around the big DH and walked him. Apparently, Dragon outfielder J. Dugger didn’t pose the same threat in the eyes of Colonial Heights and freshman pitcher T. Hebner served up a pitch that Dugger hammered to deep right field for a two-run, inside the park homer. Dugger sped around the bases and completed a head-first slide at home to score what turned out to be the game winner.

The Colonials didn’t give up. Far from it — down 4-2, they put themselves into a position to win, or at least extend the game but just couldn’t close the deal. The Colonials scored one run in the top of the sixth to pull to within one and then very nearly scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh.

G. Andrews opened the sixth for the Colonials by reaching on a pop fly single and then advanced to third on an error by PV when K. Chernault laid down a bunt. With runners at second and third, Hudson struck out a Colonial batter for the first out of the side. This brought up T. Gates, and he hit into a fielder’s choice to Hamby at second, who made the only play available to him throwing out the runner at first. With the tying run now at third, Hudson struck out C. Bride to end the side and the Colonial Heights threat.

The Colonials would threaten again in the top of the seventh. N. Hess opened the side with a deep shot to right field for a double, bringing G. Pack to the plate representing the go-ahead run. Pack hit a hard grounder to Mason Mills who made the throw to first for the out. After a Colonial Heights walk put runners at the corners, Hudson struck out the next batter on four pitches for the second out.

Colonial Heights had one of their best batters then come to the plate in G. Andrews. At this point Dragon skipper Mike Barmoy made the bold call to intentionally walk Andrews and load the bases. The faith he showed in his pitcher and defense was rewarded when K. Chernault chopped one to Dragon shortstop J. Clary who deftly scooped it up and tossed it to Hamby at second for the final out and the win.

With the win, the Dragons improved to 22-1 and advanced to the regional finals. They also qualified for the VHSL State 3A Baseball tournament for the first time since 1971. The Dragons will host the Tabb Tigers for the regional championship on Wednesday, May 29 at PVHS, game time 5:00 p.m.

The Dragons will then move on to state tournament play, opening against an opponent to be determined later, at a location also to be determined. Should the Dragons win, they will advance to the state tourney semifinal round to be played at Kiwanis Field in Salem on Friday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. The championship game will be played at 1:00 p.m. at Salem Memorial Stadium on Saturday, June 8.



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