Fauquier Gators Coach Paul Koch said he hoped the Fourth of July weekend, the midway point of the Clark Griffith League regular season, could be a fresh start for his team.
"We've got streaks of all shapes and sizes going with this team," said Koch, whose club has been up and down all season and has a 10-12 record. "But we kind of wiped the slate clean before our games Saturday and changed our whole approach. From the time we get on the bus till the time we get back off of it again, we're doing things a little bit differently now."
Fauquier won its first four games this season but then dropped five in a row. The Gators snapped that losing streak with four consecutive victories, which was followed by six straight losses.
Back-to-back victories over the Baltimore Pride in a Saturday doubleheader, by scores of 14-7 and 4-3, might prove hopeful.
"At the halfway point, we really hope to have turned the corner a little bit so that we can find some consistency," Koch said.
One player who hasn't struggled at all this season is center fielder Joey Testa (Gardner-Webb), who leads the Gators with a .407 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage.
On Saturday, one day after being named the Joe Branzell All-Star Game most valuable player, Testa was 4 for 11 with two doubles and two RBI. Matt Hill (Elon) and Bryan Towler (Marist) also did well offensively in the doubleheader, totaling four hits each, plus a combined four RBI.
The star of the day, though, was pitcher Josh Outman. Outman (Central Missouri State) threw the last three innings of the second game in relief, striking out the first eight batters he faced. The ninth batter grounded out.
"That was a show that he put on," Koch said. "The last guy who hit one back to the mound, I think he was the only batter who even touched the ball. He was amazing."
Remington Holds On
The batting woes that have troubled Remington Post 247 disappeared Friday when the team turned in an 8-6 victory over Warrenton Post 72.
Remington, comprising players who feed into Liberty's program, was leading the Fauquier-heavy Warrenton team 8-1 heading into the seventh inning and had to hold on for its second win of the season.
"Things almost got out of hand," Remington Coach Scott O'Brien said. "But we were able to just hold on."
Remington's Buddy Sosnoskie, a rising sophomore at Liberty, pitched the first six innings and yielded only one run on two hits. He struck out five and walked one. Jeremy Jenkins and Paul Heidler were each 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
"All of these players on both teams have known each other forever," O'Brien said. "They grew up playing in rec leagues and travel ball together. In fact, I've coached most of those guys on the Fauquier team. And all of the parents know each other, too, so it's like a little family reunion when these two teams play. So I guess it means a little bit more to win this one. It's definitely a little more fun."
Third Place Not Charmed
The Fire & Ice 16-and-under softball team, which includes several standouts from Loudoun Valley, Park View and Fauquier, has participated in three tournaments this season. In each -- including this past weekend's trip to Allentown, Pa. for a 12-team event -- Fire & Ice has placed third.
"We've got a couple more on the schedule before we head to the PONY Nationals [in Raleigh]," Co-Coach Dennis McGaha said. "And we're hoping to snap this little third-place jinx before we get there."
Cassie McGaha, a rising junior at Loudoun Valley who helped the Vikings to the Virginia AA semifinals this past spring, is the team's starting pitcher. Dennis McGaha said that his daughter and the team's other pitcher, Stonewall Jackson's Jennifer Jenkins, have both thrown consistently. The team's defense, too, has played extremely well. It's the offense -- or lack thereof -- that has held them back.
"Hitting has definitely been our weakness," Dennis McGaha said. "We're just not putting enough runs on the board. Our defense is great, and that's important, but defense just keeps you in games until you can score."