The Lord Botetourt baseball team saw its stock plummet last week with the Region 3D tournament set to begin. The Cavaliers lost three straight games to see their record go from 7-1 to 7-4.
“Right now we’re the sixth seed,” said LB coach Todd Smith prior to this Tuesday’s home game with Northside. The Cavs need to maintain a spot in the top six to avoid having to play Saturday in the Region 3D tournament. The top six open next Monday while seven through 10 will participate in “play in” games this Saturday.
A week ago Botetourt looked like a lock to not only avoid the play in games, but open at home on Monday. However, things started to turn sour with a 14-12 loss to Staunton River in Daleville last Tuesday, June 1. The Cavs had a 9-4 lead after a nine-run third inning, but LB gave up nine runs in the last two innings of a wild affair.
Smith used three pitchers and the Eagles touched Matt Oliver for four earned runs and Nathan Prince for eight. Sammy Peery got the last two outs in the top of the seventh but not before River came from 12-9 down to score five in the seventh to pull out the win.
Oliver, Nathan Prince, Connor Fuhrman and Colin Sell all had two hits for LB, and Fuhrman drove in three runs with two doubles.
A night later LB had a make-up game in Vinton against William Byrd. Smith didn’t want to play this game on an already tough week but with time running out in the regular season Byrd scheduled the game for Wednesday, which was their right as the home team.
This one turned into a pitchers’ duel. Carson Peggins got a rare start on the mound for LB and he breezed through six innings, allowing just two hits. However, LB’s offense managed just one unearned run over seven innings against hard-throwing Byrd starter Tyler Dean and the Cavs took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
Things went south in the bottom of the seventh for LB. A walk and some poor infield play loaded the bases with no outs and Peggins forced in the tying and winning runs with walks on some borderline pitches to take a tough loss.
On Friday the Cavs were in Rocky Mount to play Franklin County, the first place team in the Blue Ridge District, and things didn’t go well. The Eagles touched starter Sell for seven runs in the first two innings, then scored three more with Peery on the mound to take a 10-2 lead after three frames. The final was 11-2.
The Cavaliers were hoping to get back on the winning track Tuesday when they played host to Northside. That will end the regular season, and the seedings for the region will be determined this week as many of the top teams still have big games.
“A lot can change this week,” said Smith. “We just need to win our game and hope for the best.”