Westfield 1, Halifax County 0
John Lloyd's left arm was sore. He had visited with Westfield's trainer and his father after the top of the seventh inning and though he had clearance to pitch another inning, the left-handed junior was hopeful one of his teammates could put a run on the board.
Catcher Jason Bour was the one who delivered. After striking out in his two previous at-bats, Bour lined a 1-2 pitch to center field and pinch runner Scott Zittle scored from second when the ball scooted by an outfielder, giving Westfield a 1-0 victory over visiting Halifax County in a Virginia AAA quarterfinal yesterday in Chantilly.
Lloyd, who moved into the rotation in midseason after asking for a chance to start, finished with a two-hitter, his third complete game of the postseason. Westfield, which continued the most successful season in the school's four-year history, advanced to Friday's semifinals in Newport News against the winner of last night's game between Mills Godwin and Great Bridge.
"It's a huge win," said Westfield Coach Chuck Welch, whose team has won 15 of its past 16 games. "Since the district tournament, they're all huge. This is uncharted territory for us."
Especially Lloyd, who moved up to the varsity early last season after teammate Louis Ullrich was injured and then began this season as a reliever. But when Justin Bour, Jason's younger brother and the team's second starter, hurt his throwing arm and was no longer able to pitch, Lloyd went to Welch and hinted that he wanted to start.
"I didn't want to be too selfish about it," Lloyd said. "But I definitely wanted my chance and he gave it to me."
And Lloyd (7-0) has taken advantage. He struck out seven and did not allow a runner past second yesterday, continuing his strong run; before the postseason, he had not thrown a complete game on the varsity.
Lloyd pitched well again yesterday, but Westfield (19-6) was unable to produce offensively until the bottom of the seventh. Adam McDermott led off with a walk. Zittle then stole second and Bour hit a line drive. Bour, elated as he watched Zittle score, did not know what to do as he stood on second base.
"Their second baseman actually had to remind me the game was over," Bour said. "I'm just so happy we're going to the semifinals."