Albemarle 74 cruises again in second round of VALB tourney

Albemarle Post 74 has seen a lot of success in the Virginia American Legion Baseball tournament, but even this feels a bit strange, certainly at the this level of play. Behind another all-around complete day at the park Albemarle rolled to second straight run-ruling, this time in the second round of tourney play against Roanoke Post 3 with a 16-2 win in seven innings.

“It was the best game we’ve played all season and I know said the same thing yesterday, but it really was,” said Albemarle coach Mike Maynard. “We’ve just got great leadership right now from guys like Conner Lilley. Jordan Gentry and Lonnie Dillard are constantly getting on base at the top of the order.”

Starting pitcher and former Albemarle High standout Austin Turner got plenty of run sport early but hardly pitched to the score. Turner threw the first five innings and surrendered just one unearned run. With the game in hand in the fifth at 11-1, Maynard was able to go to the bullpen in the sixth with Dustin Knight who closed out the game with just one earned run in his two innings pitched.

Offensively, it was a case of déjà vu from the first round starting with Austin Batten’s 3 for 4 three run, three RBI performance. Keegan Woolford finished 2 for 5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Kyle Vidano was 2 for 4 with four runs scored. Jordan Gentry was 3 for 5 with a double and three runs.

“Everyone keeps hitting the ball and Austin Batten better not wake up, he’s in some sort of dream right now,” Maynard said. “But this is the second straight game where every single player got in the game. I’ve never had that happen before.”

So far Albemarle has outscored its opponents 30-4 with its two starters so far havining combined to pitch  11 of the 14 innings played so far. Not having to play the final two innings of the previous two games has also had a major effect.

The win puts Post 74 in prime position to make a run to the championship round as begging tomorrow, the vast majority of teams left are playing must-win games in the double elimination tournament. With Knight closing out the game against Roanoke, Maynard was able to save the rest of the big names in his pitching rotation for Thursday against Danville Post 325 who had a come-from-behind win over Winchester Post 21. The plan for Albemarle is to use a combination of Batten, Gentry and Ty Pittman on the mound. A win Thursday would mean Post 74 would have to be beaten twice between Friday and Saturday.