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Season ends for Dragons boys / June 06, 2018

What was a truly special season for the Park View baseball team came to a heartbreaking end in Colonial Heights Tuesday as the Dragons lost to Hopewell, 4-3, in the 3A East Regional semifinals.

With the extra inning victory, Hopewell secured a berth in the VSHL 3-A state baseball tournament as one of two teams to qualify out of the East Regional. For the Dragons, an otherwise terrific campaign came to an early end.

The game, originally slated to take place at Dragon Field, was moved to Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights due to weather and scheduling issues. With the Dragons having to give up home field, Park View was deprived of a potential advantage over the Blue Devils. Whether that made the difference in the final outcome belongs in the category of what-ifs.

But it was a close, hard-fought game — one that took 10 innings to decide after much stellar play by both teams.

Hopewell drew first blood in the contest, getting a run in the top of the first when R. Jones hit a triple to right and scored on a sacrifice groundout to PV shortstop Justyn Hudson.

The Dragons answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Catcher Herbey Burgart stroked a line drive single to left field to open the side. Isaiah Thompson replaced Burgart as a courtesy runner and then Trevor Tanner grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Thompson out at second. Next up at the plate, Jefferson Barmoy hit a line shot right back to the pitcher but reached first for a single and advanced Tanner to second.

Mason Mills then singled to right, loading the bases. Chris Gray came to the plate for PV and hit a deep sac fly, scoring Tanner and tying the game 1-1. The Blue Devils were able to hold Barmoy and Mills at second and first on the long fly ball, and after Hunter Sykes singled to short to reload the bases, Reid Piercy grounded into a fielder’s choice to strand all three runners and end the Dragon threat.

In the bottom of the fourth, things took a positive turn for Park View. With one out, Mason Mills hit a double to left field and Chris Gray followed with a single to center. With runners on the corners, Hunter Sykes came to the plate. The Hopewell pitcher uncorked a wild pitch and Mills scored on the play while Gray advanced to second.

Sykes then reached on an error by the Hopewell pitcher and Gray came home on the play to put the Dragons up by two, 3-1. Piercy and Jaison Dugger both flied out, ending the rally with two runners left on base.

In the top of the sixth, Hopewell came to bat down by two runs with time getting short. R. Jones hit a deep triple to left and then T. Burton hit a fly ball to right, reaching on an error by Trevor Tanner that scored Jones and allowed Burton to advance to second. D. Hock then hit a line drive back to Tanner in right. Tanner gunned the ball home in an effort to prevent the run, but the throw wasn’t in time and Burton scored from second to tie the score, 3-3. That was the last of the scoring but the damage was done in the inning.

After three uneventful stanzas, the Blue Devils came up in the top of the 10th inning and produced what would turn out to be the decisive run. D. Hock singled to left, followed by another single to right by R. Johnson. B. McComber then hit a double to Dragon center fielder Chris Gray. Gray hit the cut-off man, first baseman Jefferson Barmoy, who fired the throw home in time to cut down Johnson after Hock had scored. With the Blue Devils ahead 4-3, the Dragons defense had to step up and prevent any more runs from crossing the plate. Hopewell’s K. Cheney hit a pop fly that was caught for an out and then S. Sylvester struck out looking at a Hunter Sykes fastball.

The Dragons entered the bottom of the 10th needing at least one run to tie and two to get the walk-off victory. Alas, neither happened and the Dragons fell to the Blue Devils, 4-3.

With the loss, the Dragons finished their season with a 17-5 record.

The Blue Devils went on to play York in the 3A East Regional Final on Friday. Hopewell continued their winning ways by defeating the Falcons 7-0 to claim the regional championship and advance to the VHSL state tournament. York also qualified as regional runner-up.

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