Fort Defiance Continues Run, Clinches Regional Bid



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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Penn Laird-Spotswood High School played host to both of the Conference 29 semifinal games on Tuesday night. In the second game, Fort Defiance took on Fluvanna County. The winner would clinch a 3A West Regional berth and advance to face Turner Ashby in the Championship game, and the loser would move on to face Western Albemarle in the consolation game with the third regional berth on the line. Fort Defiance tabbed sophomore Joshua Whelan for the start and Fluvanna County went with junior Matthew Gibson.

Fort had the bats going early as Blaine Roberts led the game off getting hit by a pitch. Noah Fulks followed that up with a single to left, and shortstop Bryce Wood got the scoring going with a single of his own, driving in Roberts. Catcher Haden Bragg continued the inning with a double to deep left, driving in Fulks and Wood. Bragg was called out on appeal for missing first bae and the Gibson was able to get things under control at that point as Fort Defiance opened up a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

The bottom of the first got started with Brett Haislip reaching on an infield single. Brant Wood was hit by a pitch and both runners were bunted into scoring position. A sacrifice fly scored Haislip to get the Flucos on the board, but Whelan would bear down and the first would end with Fort Defiance leading 3-1.

In the top of the second, Tyler Allen reached with one out on a single to left and stole second, after a walk and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out, Roberts drove Allen in with a sacrifice fly to right, pushing Fort’s lead back to three runs.

Whelan settled in and moved quickly through the second, third and fourth innings, only allowing a hit by pitch and double during that stretch. Gibson also settled in a bit and threw scoreless third and fourth innings as the game moved into the fifth with Fort Defiance still leading 4-1.

Roberts got things going again to start the fifth as he reached base on an error and stole second. After a strikeout, Wood drew a walk to put two runners on. Fort was able to execute a double steal to move both runners to second and third, but Gibson was able to get another strikeout for the second out. With two outs, senior third baseman Corey Colvin came up big with a double to right, driving in two runs and extending Fort’s lead to 6-1.

Facing a five run deficit in the bottom of the fifth, Fluvanna had their work cut out for them. Things got started with a hit by pitch to put the leadoff runner on. With one out, junior rightfielder Joshua Carlton doubled to left, putting two runners in scoring position and ending Whelan’s night on the mound. The Indians brought in Colvin from centerfield to try and limit the damage. Haislip chopped a grounder to short, driving in a run and reaching base himself when the ball was misplayed. Wood then doubled to left-center, scoring two and cutting Fort’s lead to 6-4. Colvin was able to end the inning there, but Fluvanna County had cut into the deficit.

In the top of the sixth, Fluvanna County made a pitching change of their own, bringing in junior Austin Brown to try and keep them within striking distance. Brown was able to work around a walk and error to put up a scoreless inning, leaving two Indians in scoring position.

Colvin got a pair of strikeouts in the first four hitters, but the other two had a single and a walk, and he was taken out with the tying run on base as Fort Defiance brought in senior Bryce Wood. Wood walked Carlton to load the bases, but was able to strike out Haislip to end the threat while maintaining the Indians’ two run lead.

In the top of the seventh, Fort Defiance would again put two runners into scoring position, but Young would again maneuver out of the inning, giving the Fluco offense one last chance to come back. Bryce Wood had other plans as he quickly and efficiently worked a perfect seventh, ending the game with Fort Defiance winning, 6-4.

For Fluvanna County, Gibson took the loss, throwing 5 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 2 BB, HBP, 6 K. Brown threw 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 K. Haislip was 1-4 with 2 R and an RBI. Wood was 1-2 with a 2B and 2 HBP. Jacob Hahn-Fulk went 2-3 with a 2B. Carlton was 1-2 with a 2B and a run.

For Fort Defiance, Whelan earned the win, going 4 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 3 HBP, 0 BB, and 5 K. Wood earned the save throwing 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 2 K as well as going 1-3, BB, SB, 2 R, and an RBI. Roberts went 0-1 with a BB, HBP, SAC, 2 R, RBI, 3 SB. Bragg went 1-4 with a 2B and 2 RBI. Coleman was 2-3 with a BB, 2 2Bs, SB, and 2 RBIs. Fort Defiance has clinched a spot in the 3A West Regional Tournament and will play Turner Ashby for the Conference 29 Championship.

 

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