HARRISONBURG, VA., JUNE 1 -- A windblown banner in the Memorial Stadium grandstand read: "Broad Run Baseball: Taking Care of Business."
The upstart Spartans (16-5) did just that tonight, extending their dream of a state title one more day, defeating Rustburg, 5-1, in the Virginia AA semifinals.
Ian Paterson (6-2) was quite businesslike, pitching a three-hitter with five strikeouts and only one walk.
"I don't think I had my best stuff tonight," he said. "I just tried to keep everything down."
Broad Run plays Louisa, a 4-1 winner over Virginia High, here Saturday at 2 p.m. for the state championship. Undefeated Scott Schultz (8-0, 125 strikeouts), who shut out York, 4-0, in the quarterfinals Wednesday, returns to start on two days' rest.
The key blows were delivered in the fifth as Broad Run scored twice on four hits. Mike Belcher knocked home Larry Izzo with a sacrifice fly. Adam Wargo singled home Mike Bernardi to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Red Devils (23-3) capitalized first. Ken McCullough singled to lead off the game, advanced on a wild pitch and fielder's choice and scored on a base hit by Eddie Floyd.
But later in the first Broad Run took advantage of two fielding miscues to go up, 2-1. Schultz singled, then Paterson grounded softly to short. Both were safe as the toss to second was mishandled. Willie Caton singled sharply, but Schultz was nailed at the plate by a perfect throw from right fielder Charles Davis. Paterson scored on a squeeze bunt dropped at third. Wargo scored Caton.
Schultz stymied a Rustburg threat in the third when he hauled in Mike Phelps's fly ball with a spectacular, over-the-shoulder grab.
Broad Run extended its lead to 3-1 when John Harbaugh drove in Bernardi with a double to the deepest confines of right-center field.
"Our pitchers brought us here," said Broad Run Coach Wayne Todd. "Now it's time for the hitters to come forward. They did tonight -- I think we're starting to get more confidence at the plate."