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Jul, 2024

Fairfax National 9-11 Majors All Stars Win District 10 Title

Thanks to AP Sports Writer Ben Nuckols for the following recap.

After the biggest hit of his life, Tucker Bybee ran calmly around the bases while his teammates and fans lost their minds around him.
Tucker hit a grand slam to turn a close game into a blowout, and the Fairfax National 9-11 Majors All-Stars beat CYA 14-6 on June 25, sending the Red Storm to the state tournament.
Tucker came up with two outs in a fourth inning that had already featured a Fairfax rally. Benji Phillips singled to lead off the frame, but after a lineout and a fielder’s choice, CYA had a chance to get out of it. Stevie Adair came through with a base hit, and Ethan Fullinwider lifted a two-run double to center field to put Fairfax ahead 5-4.
Fairfax kept up the pressure. William Vitucci was hit by the next pitch, and Beau Sheppard singled to load the bases.
Tucker worked the count to 3-1, fouled off two straight pitches and then unloaded on a 3-2 fastball, sending it over the center field fence at Chilcott Stadium. The CYA pitcher slapped his glove against his leg in disappointment before Tucker touched the plate and was mobbed by his teammates outside the dugout.
With a big lead, relief pitcher Alex Andersen retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth, and the Red Storm added to their lead with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth. CYA scored twice in the bottom half, but the outcome was never in doubt.
That was a relief given what had happened five nights earlier, when Fairfax built an 8-0 lead against CYA, only to see it vanish in a 9-8, seven-inning loss. The setback forced the Red Storm to win on back-to-back nights for the district title.
The Red Storm had a strong start in the double-elimination tournament, beating Annandale-North Springfield 7-2 on June 18 in front of a big crowd at Burke Field. Starting pitcher Sam Brown was dominant, retiring the first seven batters – four of them on grounders to reliable second baseman Kieran Lawlor. He worked five innings, allowing two runs – one earned – and striking out five.
Sam also helped his cause with an RBI single in the first inning. The Red Storm scored four times in the second thanks to an RBI single by Beau and some shaky defense by ANSLL.
William drove in a run with a fourth-inning single and finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Sam also had two hits, and Tucker’s first at-bat of the tournament was a double to deep left. Alex relieved Sam on the mound in the sixth and worked out of a bases-loaded jam, inducing a grounder to end it.
The Red Storm got the bats going early in the loss to CYA, with Ben Reed driving in three runs for a four-run lead through three. Stevie’s RBI single in the fourth made it 8-0. Benji finished with two RBIs, and four Fairfax players had two hits – Tucker, Dylan Oliveri, Alex and Kieran.
Two errors contributed to CYA’s eight-run rally in the fourth. Relief pitcher Beau quieted the CYA bats in the fifth and sixth, but CYA turned two double plays to end Fairfax threats before walking it off in the seventh.
There was no room for error as Fairfax traveled to Pine Ridge Park for a rematch against ANSLL on Monday night, a game postponed two days to June 24 because of heat. Starting pitcher Ben was up to the task, holding ANSLL scoreless for the first four innings.
Dylan put the Red Storm ahead with a two-out RBI single in the first to score Beau, who led off with a double. In the fifth, Stevie singled and scored on a bunt hit by Ethan, and Beau lined a base hit to left to bring Ethan home.
Ben ran into trouble on the mound in the fifth and Elex relieved him, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base by getting a flyout to William in left and striking out the next batter looking.
In the closer role, Sam gave out a one-out single in the sixth before Kieran snagged a line drive at second base. A popup to shortstop Beau ended it and sent the Red Storm to their rematch with CYA.
While Tucker’s grand slam was the biggest hit, the Red Storm slugged their way to the title. Each of their dozen players had at least one hit. Tucker finished 2-for-2 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Ethan and William each scored twice and drove in two, Benjamin Smith was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, and Beau also scored twice. Ben, Sam and Alex had two hits apiece.
The trip to the state tournament is the second in a row for manager Dan Lawlor and his assistants, Austin Phillips and Matt Oliveri. After their run to the state semifinals at the 8-10 Majors level last year in Abingdon, this year’s Red Storm will travel even farther to Lebanon, which is near the Tennessee border and farther west than Cleveland, Ohio.

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