After arriving late to Wednesday’s pregame meeting, Battlefield pitcher and outfielder Joe Williams was scratched from the matchup against undefeated rival Hylton at home. Instead, the senior George Mason commit was relegated to fetching foul balls for the first six innings of the matchup between two of Prince William County’s top teams.
When Williams wasn’t grabbing foul balls he stepped into the batting cage adjacent to the Bobcats’ dugout to stay warm in case his name was called. And with the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Battlefield Coach Jay Burkhart gave him a chance.
Williams roped a one-out single that dropped into left field and scored the game-winning run on an error two batters later to deliver the No. 7 Bobcats a 4-3 walk-off win in Haymarket.
“Coming off the bench and being a senior leader I had to do something in that moment. I just delivered and put the ball in play,” Williams said. “It was my fault I was late. I just had to step up when they called my number.”
In last season’s Virginia AAA Northwest Region semifinal, the Bulldogs (8-1) knocked off the Bobcats (9-1) when a Battlefield error in the bottom of the seventh allowed the winning run to score.
“For us to just beat them like that the same way they beat us felt great,” Williams said. “Coming home and seeing my teammates waiting for me was one of the best feelings of my life.”
Battlefield ace Nick Wells struggled with his command early, allowing three runs, but managed to pick up eight strikeouts with wicked off-speed pitches on a windy night.
Hylton held a 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth due in large part to starter Brandon Barbery’s strong outing (62 / 3 innings, five strikeouts). But in the sixth, Josh Flaherty (2 for 3) hit a run-scoring single then scored on a passed ball to knot the game.
Bobcats sophomore Keagan McGinnis pitched two solid innings in relief, allowing three walks but no hits to secure the win.
“Keagan came in there and shut them down,” Burkhart said. “It’s a game of opportunities and our guys answered the call when called upon.”
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