Freedom-South Riding’s dizzying season of firsts might have been done in by an odd play at third Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to Kellam in the Virginia AAA baseball quarterfinals at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.
The Eagles had the potential tying run on third with one out in the top of the sixth, and Coach Jason Treon was about to send senior pinch runner Nick Plesce home on a one-out sacrifice fly to left. But Treon touched Plesce, an interference call that resulted in an automatic out that ended the inning.
“It would have been bang-bang at the plate,” Treon said. “Nick went back to tag right away. I got a little too close communication-wise and got tangled up.”
Freedom, the first Loudoun County team to advance to the state tournament, went down in order in the seventh.
“We have a group of seven seniors who should be proud of themselves for helping put our program on the map,” said Treon, whose team won the Cedar Run District regular season and tournament championships in its first year of AAA competition.
The Eagles (18-8) won nine straight games before ending their season with consecutive losses, to Hylton in the Northwest Region final and then to Kellam, a team they out-hit, 7-3.
Freedom took a 1-0 lead on the Eastern Region champions in the top of the first on an RBI double by junior Colin Dean. The Eagles squandered a leadoff double by senior Matt Malacane in the top of the fourth when he was retired at third on a sacrifice bunt, but they got another double by Malacane with one out in the sixth. Junior Zach Newell then walked and junior Kevin Dean singled to make it 3-2.
The championship is at 3 p.m. Saturday at Westfield.