Cunningham Drives Battlefield to Region Title


John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

UG 6.20

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A hot Friday night saw a rematch of the 2016 6A North Region and 6A State title games as Chantilly traveled to Battlefield for the Region 6D Championship game. Chantilly would jump out to an early lead, but Battlefield would rally in the sixth to win the game 7-4.

The first went quickly as Battlefield starter Harrison Whitt surrendered a leadoff single but got a double play and a groundout to post a scoreless inning. Chantilly starter Kyle Pasquale answered with a three up, three down, inning.

In the top of the second, Connor Pennell led off with a single and Shane Dux drew a one-out walk to put two Chargers on base. After a wild pitch, Thomas Latham singled, driving in both runs and giving Chantilly an early lead. Later in the inning, John McGrath delivered a two-out RBI single to extend the Charger lead to 3-0 in the middle of the second.

Pasquale fired a perfect bottom of the second and Whitt responded in the top of the third with a three up, three down, inning of his own. In the bottom of the third, Battlefield got their first baserunner as Carter Cunningham (Gardner Webb) ripped a one-out double to right-center. Battlefield got on the board as Whitt singled, driving in Cunningham. After three innings the score was Chantilly 3, Battlefield 1.

In the top of the fourth, Battlefield brought in senior Jake Michna (Queens NC) to pitch, and he worked a scoreless inning. Pasquale also put up a scoreless fourth. Chantilly would add a run in the top of the fifth as Michna issued a pair of walks and Christian Parana delivered and RBI single. Battlefield also got a run in the bottom of the fifth when Jonah Seagears (Virginia Tech) led the inning off with a double and was driven in when Cunningham singled to left. After five the score was Chantilly 4, Battlefield 2.

Michna got a groundout to open the top of the sixth, then a hit batsmen, walk, and hit batsmen loaded the bases with one out and Battlefield went to the pen for JT McGuire. McGuire got a pop out behind the plate and a grounder that saw Seagears make a diving stop before flipping for the force out to escape the jam with the score still 4-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Pasquale issued a one-out walk and then a single to Reese Varley (UMBC) to put the tying runs on base. The Chargers went to the pen for junior Nick Zampiello. He was welcomed to the game by Austin Estridge (Roanoke), who doubled to right and drove in a run to cut the score to 4-3. With the infield in, Seagears hit a ball to short, but the throw home got away from Dux and Battlefield tied the game at 4. After pinch hitter Sam Scott drew a walk to load the bases, Cunningham picked up his third hit of the game with a 3-run triple to right-center. Zampiello would stop the bleeding there, but Battlefield had taken the lead, 7-4 after six innings.

In the top of the seventh, Zach Agnos (East Carolina) came in from short to close the game out. He got a pair of strikeouts in the inning and slammed the door, giving Battlefield the Region Championship.

For the Chargers, Ryan Hodinko was 2-2 with a BB and a HBP. Parana was 1-3 with a BB and an RBI. Latham was 1-3 with 2 R, 2 RBI, and a BB. McGrath was 1-2 with an RBI and a BB.

For Battlefield, Cunningham was 3-3 and was a home run short of the cycle with 4 RBIs. Seagears was 1-3 with 2 runs, a 2B, and an RBI. Varley was 1-3 with a run and three missiles.

Both teams will advance to the State Tournament. Battlefield will host Region 6C Runner-Up Lake Braddock on Tuesday and Chantilly will travel to Region 6C Champion West Springfield on Tuesday for the State Quarterfinals

 

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