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South Hill Babe Ruth reaches semifinals

South Boston News
Cameron Shook narrowly avoids being picked off at first in action against Greene County in the Babe Ruth of Virginia 16-18 year old state tournament played at Parker Park in South Hill this past weekend. (Steve Hinzman photos)
SoVaNow.com / July 10, 2019
The 16-18 year old South Hill Babe Ruth All-Stars have enjoyed a successful run in the Babe Ruth of Virginia state tournament currently under way at Parker Park. As of press time, the South Hill team had advanced to the semi-final round and were scheduled to face Southwestern Youth in the Monday game.

South Hill’s success has not been easy. In the opening round game the local All-Stars faced off against Greene County and while the score ended up being 9-4 in favor of South Hill, the game was a hotly contested affair that saw the Greene County manager ejected. This distraction had an impact in the final innings, allowing South Hill to score some runs and gain some breathing room. But the final score wasn’t an indication of how close the contest really was.

Next up the South Hill team faced off against a tough Nottoway All-Star squad and this one was a nail biter. With the score knotted at 0-0, South Hill finally got a run in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to aggressive base running by catcher Brandon Rolfe.

With one out, Rolfe drew a walk, got a monster jump and stole second. Next up for South Hill was Chris Gray and he laced a single to right field and Rolfe scored easily from second. Nottoway couldn’t answer and South Hill escaped with a slim 1-0 win.

South Hill advanced to the next round to face a determined and talented Northern Fairfax County squad on Sunday at Parker Park. Game time was set for 10 a.m. and the hope was for cooler morning temperatures, but the heat came on quickly and most of the game was played with temps in the low to mid 90s.

This game may well become a part of South Hill Babe Ruth lore. These were two evenly matched teams that both played their hearts out. Ultimately South Hill was able to capitalize on a N. Fairfax error in the bottom of the 11th inning to take a 4-3 win.

With starter Mason Mills on the mound for South Hill, N. Fairfax jumped out to 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a leadoff double, sacrifice and run-scoring single.

N. Fairfax added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. With Jordan Wesson on the mound for South Hill, a Fairfax batter drew a one-out walk, stole second, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a double to left field. The lead runner then scored on a line-drive single to right centerfield. The inning came to a close on a fine catch on a hard-hit ball by charging South Hill outfielder Cameron Shook.

South Hill cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Ethan Stanley drew a walk and then first baseman Jefferson Barmoy clobbered an offering to deep right center where it cleared the fence for a two-run dinger to get South Hill back in the game.

N. Fairfax threatened briefly in the top of the sixth when J. Blevins got a single and then stole second. At this point South Hill skipper Mike Greene made the decision to bring in pitcher Justyn Hudson to close the game out. Hudson, a first team All-State pitcher as a junior at Park View, struck out the next batter, induced a ground out and a fly-out to leave the N. Fairfax runner stranded on second.

Trailing 3-2, South Hill scored the tying run in the bottom half of the sixth. With two outs on the board, Justin Clary drew a walk and then Jordan Wesson advanced Clary into scoring position with a single to right field. Next up for South Hill, Jarrett Hamby tattooed one to the gap in right center for a double, scoring Clary and advancing Wesson to third.

The teams would then wage a defensive war for the next five innings. Other than the top of the seventh inning, when N. Fairfax left two stranded on base, neither team would mount a significant threat to score until the bottom of the 11th inning for South Hill.

Jefferson Barmoy led off the bottom of the 11th with a single, but was put out at second when Justyn Hudson hit into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop and just barely beat the throw to first to avoid the double play. Cameron Shook then drew a walk for South Hill. Patrick Moss stepped into the batter’s box and facing a 2-2 count, hit a sharp shot to the third baseman who failed to make the play. As a result of the error South Hill had the bases loaded and just one out on the board.

Next up, Justin Clary stepped into the batter’s box and with the count at 1-1 hit a tricky chopper to the shortstop. The shortstop made the catch cleanly and elected to try for the double play rather than throw home to nail the lead runner. However, the second baseman bobbled the throw from short and the resulting error allowed Hudson to score the winning run.

With the win, the South Hill squad advanced to the semi-final to face the Lookouts of Southwestern, Va. See next week’s Sun for results of that game and the rest of the tournament.



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