It appeared as if Woodgrove’s postseason magic just might continue when the Wolverines got two runners on in the top of the seventh inning Saturday night against Tunstall on errors on a fly ball to left field and a possible double play ball to second.
Not this time. Woodgrove stranded those runners and lost 3-2 at Calfee Field in a Virginia AA state semifinal, ending a late-season run of walk-off hits and 12-inning games for a team whose forced maturity, after the early-season dismissal of 10 players, belied the year column on the roster.
Woodgrove had the top of the order up in the seventh, needing a run to tie. Junior Matt Jeffery made the first out when the Tunstall first baseman stabbed a line drive in foul territory. Freshman Colin Reid lifted a flyball to left field that was dropped. Then junior Hazen Dean reached on the bobbled double play ball by the second baseman.
But the next batter struck out on a tough check-swing call, and the final one bounced out to the pitcher.
“With two guys on, early life in that inning, we were definitely hoping that something would happen,” Dean said. “But we just have to tip our hats because they made it happen tonight.”
Woodgrove took a 2-0 lead in the top of first inning. Jeffery drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice by Reid. Dean singled to left to score one run, and sophomore Davis Reagan followed with an RBI single to right.
From that point, the Wolverines could not muster much against Tunstall freshman left-hander Alex Wade, who struck out 10, walked two and hit two before leaving in the sixth after hitting a batter and giving up a single. Woodgrove had only five hits.
“Our hitting was not there,” Jeffery said. “We’re [usually] more selective. We don’t chase. We didn’t have a spark underneath us. It was more us.”
“We just didn’t barrel the baseball up,” Reid said.
Tunstall scored a run in the first inning and two more in the second when Reid laid out for what looked like a spectacular inning-ending catch, but the ball hit the top of his glove, and two runs scored to make it 3-2.
Woodgrove sophomore left-hander Hank Biggs pitched into the fifth before yielding to sophomore Kaleb Bowman.
“I think we’ve learned from this experience,” Woodgrove Coach Brad Bauder said of his third-year program. “I think now that we’ve been here we’ve tasted it. Maybe when we go back instead of just trying to worry about little things we do shoot for a little bit higher. We did everything we possibly could. We tried, and we had chances.”