Ryan McQueen thought he had done it. In the ninth inning of Wednesday's Region II baseball semifinal against Waynesboro, the Loudoun Valley senior doubled with the bases loaded and drove in two runs -- the two runs he thought would put the Vikings into the Group AA tournament.
But Loudoun Valley couldn't get the three outs it needed in the bottom of the ninth, and the Little Giants rallied for a 5-4 victory at Kate Collins Field in Waynesboro. For the second consecutive year, the Vikings' season ended in the Region II semifinals, one win shy of the state tournament.
Going into the bottom of the ninth, "I thought we were going to win. Some people were talking about how they were picturing us jumping around on the mound, celebrating because we were going to states," said McQueen, who was 4 for 5 in his final high school game. "So many weird things happened, but we didn't beat ourselves. They had to beat us fair and square."
Loudoun Valley (15-6) and Waynesboro (16-6) had to battle out of potentially disastrous situations throughout the game. The Little Giants had runners at third base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, and each time the Vikings escaped without allowing a run.
Waynesboro scored one run in the third and another in the fourth, but it could have been much worse -- the Little Giants had the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth, but Waynesboro's Erik Henderson lined into a double play (started by McQueen) to help Loudoun Valley pitcher T.J. Dorsey get out of the inning.
In the seventh, with the Vikings trailing, 2-0, Loudoun Valley senior Jeff Gaskins led off with a triple that Waynesboro center fielder Lee Blair lost in the lights. Gaskins scored on Myles Anderson's single up the middle, but Waynesboro retired the next two batters. Facing two outs and two strikes, Vikings senior Trip Wilhelm doubled to the left field corner, and Anderson scored the tying run when the left fielder bobbled the ball.
Loudoun Valley scored twice in the ninth on McQueen's two-out, bases-loaded double. In the bottom of the inning, Waynesboro -- one of the region's top hitting teams (35 home runs in 22 games) -- strung together a walk followed by four consecutive hits off Wilhelm and Gaskins to score three runs.
"We had our best pitcher [Wilhelm] on the mound at the end. We didn't lose the game; they beat us," Loudoun Valley Coach Wayne Todd said. "We pitched out of a lot of tough situations, and we had chances early. This is a gutsy bunch of kids. . . . We did a lot of good things tonight. We just didn't win the game."
Loudoun Valley (15-6) 000 000 202 -- 4 11 1
Waynesboro (16-6) 001 100 003 -- 5 12 1
Dorsey, Wilhelm (6), Gaskins (9) and Todd; Mize, Wells (8) and Harlow.