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South Hill Ozone All-Stars eliminated in state competition

South Boston News
South Hill hurler Chance Barbour with a high kick on the mound. / July 11, 2018
The South Hill Baseball Ozone All-Stars had their state championship hopes dashed on Sunday night when Rustburg delivered a 9-4 win over the local squad at Parker Park, host site of the state finals.

The loss was the second for South Hill in double-elimination play after an opening night defeat.

SH took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after Jerry Cypress drew a walk in the leadoff role. With a 3-2 count on, Noah Waller smacked a double, plating Cypress for the game’s first run before Rustburg was able to end the threat.

Shook did a good job on the mound for SH in the bottom of the first, walking two batters, while striking out three.

Rustburg’s Jacob Owens, batting in the two spot, made it to third base on a South Hill infield error. But the locals did a solid job of holding the runner in check.

Rustburg’s pitcher, Quentin Smith, had a better showing on the mound in the second inning, holding SH scoreless.

SH’s Chance Barbour was called out on the 6-3 play; Chase Homiak went down on strikes. Evan Baird walked but Matthew Lynch lifted a fly ball to centerfield for the third out.

Rustburg picked up two runs in the bottom of the second. Bryant Maddox hit a single, Austin Rosser reached base on an error and Jacob Ford followed with a double. Maddox and Rosser recorded the runs for the 2-1 Rustburg lead.

In the third inning the first two South Hill batter were out on K’s. With two down, Colin Icenhour batted for a walk, and Cypress followed with a walk of his own. Waller had a double, sending Icenhour and Cypress home for the 3-2 score in South Hill’s favor.

SH played some decent defense in the bottom of the inning, recording outs on the first two at-bats. But with two outs, Rustburg’s Owens and Smith each hit singles — and an infield error by SH would lead to both runners coming in to score. Rustburg regained the lead at 4-3.

SH had a busy fourth inning, placing four batters in scoring position. Shook led off with a single, and Walton hit into an error; Barbour and Homiak drew walks. Shook earned the run for SH for the mid-inning 4-4 tie.

Another solid inning of defense by SH in the fourth held Rustburg scoreless. Shook allowed only one baserunner in the inning, on an error. The South Hill infield played sound defense to quell the threat.

Knotted at 4-4 entering the fifth inning, SH was positioned to make a move. But Rustburg held up defensively, holding runners on base after allowing two hits by South Hill.

Rustburg exploded in the fifth, posting five runs off of two hits. Tyler Carr (single), Smith (error), Jack Elliott (walk), Jeff Dunn (walk) and Maddox (FC) scored the final five Rustburg runs – Rosser’s double plating two of the five for the 9-4 win.

SH had a final opportunity at the top of the sixth inning but went down in order.

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