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Jul, 2022



by Ben Nuckols

The Fairfax American 8-10 Majors All-Star team’s chances to advance from pool play in the state tournament in Lynchburg came down to the final pitch on Sunday. 

Fairfax American was 1-1 in the tournament heading into Sunday’s game against Tuckahoe. Loudoun South was 2-1 and Tuckahoe was 2-0, meaning a victory by Fairfax American would leave three teams in the pool at 2-1, with run differential as the tiebreaker. Beating Tuckahoe wouldn’t be enough. Fairfax American had to win by at least three runs -- and the team nearly pulled it off. 

The game was tight throughout, with neither team leading by more than two. Joshua put Fairfax American on the board in the first with a two-out RBI single to score Colby, who led off the game with a double. Tuckahoe came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, and Fairfax American drew closer in the second on another two-out RBI single, this one by Virginia. 

Fairfax American trailed 4-2 but rallied in the fourth, again with two outs. Colby lined a single to center to make it 4-3, and Cooper followed with a grounder to Tuckahoe’s shortstop, whose error allowed two runs to score. Tuckahoe tied it in the bottom of the fifth and brought in a reliever who struck out the side in the sixth. But Fairfax American reliever Peter was just as good in the bottom half, retiring the side in order, and the game went to extra innings. 

In the seventh, Colby again led off with a double, and Cooper again reached on an error that put Fairfax American on top. Jack then tripled to make it 7-5, but a lineout and a double play prevented Fairfax American from taking the three-run lead it needed. 

Peter did his job in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a one-out single but retiring the next batter on a fielder’s choice. But winning by two wouldn’t be enough -- Fairfax American needed to extend the game to take a three-run lead. 

Manager Matt Kelly did the only thing he could, calling for four consecutive intentional walks that allowed Tuckahoe to tie the game. That brought up Tuckahoe’s first baseman, who was 0-for-2 to that point, but he came through, lining a walk-off single to left to give Tuckahoe the 8-7 win and end the tournament for Fairfax American. 

Fairfax American had a tough draw in the tournament, having to play teams from two historically strong leagues in Loudoun South National and Tuckahoe. Pool play began on Friday against Bennetts Creek, and Fairfax American took care of business. Jack went 4-for-5 with two triples, four RBIs and four runs scored and worked two scoreless innings on the mound as Fairfax American won 19-0. His two-run triple in the first inning opened the scoring. Fairfax American led 3-0 after two innings before scoring three runs in the third, three in the fourth and 10 in the fifth to polish off the blowout. Cooper went 3-for-5 with two doubles, scored three times and drove in two runs. John went 2-for-2, and Colby had a two-run triple. On the mound, four pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, with Cooper, Peter and Colby working an inning each in relief. 

Against Loudoun South National, Fairfax American kept it close in the early innings before falling off the pace late. Starting pitcher Rhyan and reliever Cooper kept the Loudoun South offense in check for the first four innings, and Fairfax American trailed 2-0 entering the fifth. But Loudoun South added three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth. Fairfax American broke through for two runs in the sixth but couldn’t complete the miracle rally and lost 9-2. Joseph had two of Fairfax American’s three hits, including a double. 

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