About halfway through the Loudoun Babe Ruth team's first game in the 13-year-old Southeast Region baseball tournament at Fireman's Field in Purcellville, Assistant Coach Terry Ridgeway couldn't help but look away from what was transpiring on the field.
Five Loudoun pitchers walked 13 batters in the game, and the defense committed nine errors. Alabama, Loudoun's opponent, scored 21 runs on only seven hits.
"That pretty much tells the tale right there," Ridgeway said. "The people we brought in just couldn't find the strike zone."
Loudoun was down, 11-4, in the top of the fifth inning but battled back to within one run in the bottom of the inning before giving up 10 more runs in the final two innings to lose Friday, 21-11.
Loudoun rebounded nicely the next day, however.
The host team won its second game, against Tennessee, 8-5, thanks in large part to a great turnaround by the defense. Tyler Modzelesky started the game and gave up three earned runs on five hits in five innings. Modzelesky also led his offense throughout the tournament, going 4 for 9 (.444) in the three games, with three RBI and a triple.
"The Alabama loss kind of disappointed us because we usually don't make a whole ton of errors," Ridgeway said. "But we felt like we had a pretty good offensive team."
Loudoun's run in the tournament came to an end later that night, when it had to play Western North Carolina less than four hours after beating Tennessee.
Western North Carolina proved to be too much for the badly depleted Loudoun pitching staff, winning, 14-12. But, much like in the Alabama game, Loudoun fought back from a large deficit. Down 14-7 in the top of the seventh, Loudoun scored five to pull within two but was unable to convert with two outs and runners on second and third.
Unlike players on many of the host teams, Loudoun teammates actually played together in a few tournaments before the Southeast regional. The Loudoun all-stars compiled a 15-2 record overall in four tournaments, winning three of them and finising second in the other one.
Fauquier Wins Three The Fauquier 10-and-under Virginia state champion team traveled to Spartanburg, S.C., for its Southeast regional appearance and was forced into the losers' bracket after Western North Carolina defeated the team, 6-1.
But Fauquier won three straight games before losing to Eastern North Carolina, 12-7, to take third place. . . .
The Fire & Ice 14-and-under softball team, which won its age division at the PONY National Tournament of Champions in Loudoun County, went 6-0 last weekend to win the Bad Girls NSA Invitational Tournament in Frederick, Md.
The team finished its season with a 44-20 record.
Ashley Shifflett, Tamara Poles and Amanda Shanklin led the offense, with five home runs. Brandi Vasquez provided strong pitching, and solid defensive play by Sammy Gallagher and Caitlin Trask helped Fire & Ice clinch the tournament title.
CAPTION: Florida's Spencer Thomas (10) reaches first base safely as East North Carolina's Matt Spence stretches but can't quite make tag during 13-and-under Babe Ruth Southeast Region tournament semifinal.
CAPTION: Florida player Ross Kozloski takes time out for some juggling between innings of Babe Ruth game Sunday at Fireman's Field in Purcellville.