Back To States: Gunter strikes out 14 as Buckingham baseball earns state berth

One trip to the state tournament is impressive, especially when your program endures an incredible drought like Buckingham County baseball did before last year’s run to the state final four, the program’s first-ever state tournament appearance.


But the Knights are starting to make this a habit now. 


On the strength of Justin Gunter’s 14-strikeout performance headed back to the state tournament after holding off Page County 3-1 Thursday night in the Region 2B semifinals. 


The win came just a day after a 10-0 run-ruling of Clarke County led by sophomore Avery Schaeffer’s five-inning, eight-strikeout no-hitter. 


Schaeffer put the Knights up 1-0 on Thursday with a sac fly to right field that plated Nick Allen in the bottom of the second. Then Gunter himself ripped a double to right field and scored Dunkum who was running for Camden Allen who’d singled the at bat before. That put Buckingham up 2-0. The Knights tacked on a third run in the bottom of the sixth to go up 3-0 when Holden Tyson reached on a throwing error and Gunter scored. 


In the meantime, Gunter was cruising on the mound. He needed just 87 pitches for his 14 strikeouts and scattered four hits, two of which came in the seventh where Page scratched out one run on a second single. Gunter also didn’t walk anyone the entire game. He struck out the next batter to finish it and vault Buckingham into the state tournament and Friday’s region championship game. 


The Knights will face East Rockingham at 4 p.m. Friday for the region championship before entering state quarterfinal play next week.