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Jul, 2023


Thanks to The Associated Press writer/editor Ben Nuckols for the following recap.


With a spot in the state semifinals at stake for the Fairfax National 8-10 Majors All-Stars, Jack Lynch got his team out of trouble on the mound -- and again at the plate. 

Jack came on with one out in the sixth inning of the Red Storm’s quarterfinal matchup with McIntire on July 10 in far-off Abingdon. He got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to carry Fairfax into the bottom of the sixth with a one-run deficit. 

Andy Valentine led off with a line-drive single. After a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, the McIntire pitcher was one strike away from ending the game when Jack lofted a 1-2 pitch to right field for a triple to score the tying run. 

That brought up Dylan Oliveri, who wasted no time. Dylan lined the first pitch over the outstretched glove of the McIntire second baseman for a walk-off single. While Dylan’s teammates and coaches mobbed him at first base, the McIntire players gathered on the mound to hug and console their pitcher. The Red Storm were moving on to the state title game. 

The tournament ended with a 9-2 loss to eventual state champ Vienna American in the semifinals. But was an inspired run for Fairfax, which powered its way to several blowout wins during its summer tournament schedule but also showed the grit to come through in closer matchups. 

The tournament began three days earlier with one of those blowouts, a 23-2 win over Roanoke City. Jack started on the mound and worked a scoreless inning while going 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and four RBIs. Beau Sheppard, Connor Bartick and Sam Brown each added two hits to pace the Red Storm’s 15-hit attack. 

Fairfax was even more dominant in its second pool game, scoring 18 runs in the first inning and beating Lynchburg 30-1. Connor and Benji Phillips each drove in five runs, and Ben Reed had four RBIs. Every batter in the Red Storm lineup had at least one hit, led by Benji, who went 3-for-4 with a double. 

The final pool game brought a familiar and more competitive opponent in Loudoun South, and the Red Storm rose to the challenge. Starting pitcher Sam kept the Loudoun offense in check, allowing two runs in four innings as his offense methodically built a lead. 

Ben had an RBI single in the first, Kieran Lawlor had a run-scoring single in the second, and Connor had a line-drive RBI double in the third to help Fairfax push ahead 6-2. An RBI single by Andy followed by an error gave Fairfax an 8-2 edge after four. Relief pitchers Dylan and Connor worked out of trouble in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, and Fairfax moved on to bracket play. 

Manager Dan Lawlor gave the ball to Beau to start the elimination game against McIntire, and he allowed one run each in the first and second innings while working out of trouble both times. From there, he took command, working three scoreless innings. Beau struck out three and gave up two runs on six hits in his 67-pitch, five inning outing. 

With Fairfax trailing 2-0 in the second, Connor led off with a single and Ben walked. Connor stole home for the Red Storm’s first run, and Alex Andersen was hit by a pitch. Sean McClane followed with a line-drive triple to tie the game and then scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. 

The lead held until the sixth, when McIntire went ahead 4-3 on a two-run triple. Jack came on with one out, gave up a bunt single that loaded the bases, and then got out of trouble from there, battling back from a 3-1 count for a critical strikeout and then ending the inning on a grounder to first baseman Dylan. 

In the bottom half, Jack and Dylan came through again. 

Fairfax had something to be proud of in its semifinal loss, as well -- the Red Storm were the only team in the tournament to score against Vienna American. And starting pitcher Alex bounced back from a tough start to hold Vienna scoreless in the third and fourth innings and keep the game within reach. 

The runs came from Sean, who singled to lead off the sixth and scored on an error, and Alex, who singled and then scored on an RBI base hit by Benji. 

The Red Storm didn’t leave Abingdon with a medal, but they came home proud of their achievement as one of the top four teams in Virginia. 

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