Fred Kramer, aided by the timely hitting of Ricky MacDonald and Mark Nicely, pitched Oakton to a 4-1 victory over Halifax County in the Virginia AAA state baseball semifinals last night at Fairfax High. The start of the game was delayed two hours by a power failure.
Oakton (15-7), which was largely ignored in the Northern Region until the regional tournament last week, will play defending state champion J.R. Tucker of Richmond Friday night at Highland Springs High.
"We don't have the talent we had last year, but there are no quitters on this team," said Kramer (8-1), a senior right-hander who allowed four hits and struck out 12. "Someone, usually not the same person, starts things for us and we just keep it going."
Kramer retired the side in the first inning, striking out the first two batters he faced. Oakton loaded the bases in its half of the first as starter and loser Robby Schoonover walked three of the first four Cougar batters. But the left-hander struck out Jack Galbraith and Fred Foli to get out of the inning.
Schoonover's wildness helped Oakton score three times in the second. With the bases loaded on two walks and MacDonald's single, Schoonover walked Kramer to force home Jimmy Labey. Nicely, Oakton's leading hitter this season, greeted reliever Glen Ferguson with a looping double to center, scoring MacDonald and Brian Wood.
Kramer struck out nine of the first 13 batters he faced. Halifax County (19-4) scored its run on two singles and consecutive wild pitches in the fifth after Oakton had increased its lead to 4-1 on MacDonald's triple and Wood's double in the bottom of the fourth.