Playoff wins have been hard to come to by for an Albemarle baseball team that’s been extraordinarily young for quite some time. In a Thursday Region 5D quarterfinal that also served as senior night for the Patriots, everything broke their way against Harrisonburg. The Patriots were opportunistic offensively, scoring in three of their six showings at the plate. On defense, they were error free. And of course, on the mound, senior Scott Reid was in command from the first pitch to the last to pick up a complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory.
“It’s been three years since we’ve won a senior night so I’m really proud for the boys, this is great for them,” said Albemarle coach Jimmy Bibb. “We played great defense and then Scott was just great. He was great. He doesn’t walk guys. He knows what he wants to do on the mound. He sets guys up so well. Tonight there a few times where I was thinking ‘I wonder why he threw that’ and then the next pitch you’d see what he was up to. That’s always great to see.”
In a three hit effort with just one walk, Albemarle’s senior hurler was awfully efficient. Reid struck out six batters and only allowed one runner into scoring position when Harrisonburg’s Owen Stewart doubled in the third inning with two out. Reid struck out the next batter to end the threat but gave all the credit to the defense behind him for his complete game.
“When you’ve got an all-state infield behind you like I do it’s not about going up there and striking guys out,” Reid. “Didn’t have to walk much of anyone today so I didn’t have to worry about anyone. I just tried to keep the ball low and so what did get hit was on the ground and my defense behind me was just ridiculously good.”
Albemarle got on the scoreboard in the second inning after a pair of walks led to an RBI infield single from Jack Bruns. Then with two outs, the Patriots got an RBI single from Andrew Porter to make it 2-0.
“We’ve played them twice and beat them twice so we knew them coming in,” Porter said. “But we didn’t have a specific approach, we were just trying to hit the ball as square as we could.”
In the bottom of the fourth Albemarle picked up another run with two outs with Porter and Reid earning back-to-back walks and Jacob Browning delivering an RBI single to make it a 3-run contest.
The fifth saw the Patriots plate a pair of runner with Alex Petroka walking and then getting moved around the bases before stealing home. Ryan Porter then delivered a sacrifice fly for make it 5-0.
That was more than enough for the Albemarle defense and Reid to work with. The Patriots retired six of the last seven batters and wrapped up the win.
“For a lot of us, we’ve been playing since our freshman year and haven’t had a playoff win,” Andrew Porter said. “The payoff is pretty good, we’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
Albemarle will travel to face Potomac on Tuesday with a state bid on the line. And for a senior class that’s rebuilt this program the hard way, through bumps and bruises, the opportunity for a playoff run is obviously exciting.
“We’ve got an offense this year that we didn’t have last year,” Reid said. “Last year we didn’t have a defense like this. We’re deeper with the pitching rotations this year too. So more stacked on offense, defense and pitching, we’re just a lot better this year and really excited to try and keep going.”