Louisa capitalizes against Western in JD baseball opener

After dropping a game marred by errors to Courtland last week, Louisa County found themselves in a similar game, albeit with the shoe on the other foot.

On the road against Western Albemarle, the Lions were in the midst of a pitcher’s duel between their ace Gunnar Carroll and the Warriors’ Dylan Via for the first half of the game. But in the last three innings, that changed as Louisa made the most of a Western defensive funk, scoring six unearned runs to pull out in front and pick up a 7-2 victory in their first Jefferson District contest of the season.

“We’re very ecstatic,” said Lions coach Kevin Fisher of his team’s win. “We had a game against Courtland — a very good ball club — and we made a lot of errors. Today Western made some errors, helped us out and we were able to capitalize on them. That was huge for us.”

Both Via and Carroll took care of business on the mound for the first four innings, and though Louisa threatened at times, Western held 2-0 nothing lead off a scoring spurt in the third inning where Nick Pegan drove in a run on a single and later scored himself on a wild pitch.

But in the top of the fifth, the Lions put the ball in play were able to put together a 4-run inning which featured a pair of doubles from Peter Culver and Jarrett Talley to drive in three of those runs.

And in the next two innings Louisa would add three more runs to their lead, and when Carroll came out after the fifth, Jimmy Dunnavant was lights out in relief, giving up just one hit and throwing a 4-pitch inning in the sixth. He finished with a pair of strikeouts.

“Jimmy’ s been a huge surprise for us,” Carroll said. “He hasn’t pitched for us since he was an eighth grader and over the winter, I was throwing some in the bullpen and he came over and asked for the ball and was just messing around and we definitely saw some things we liked. He is efficient.”

Over the three inning scoring stretch for Louisa, Western committed four errors to spoil a close contest in which they held the lead, and with the Lions running the bases aggressively, each mistake proved costly.

“We were hitting the ball well today,” Fisher said. “That’s the thing that we’ve been working on – taking advantage of bases and being very aggressive on the base paths. That’s a big part of our philosophy.”

For the Warriors, it was a frustrating start to their JD schedule.

“We’re were in real good shape going into the fifth inning,” said Western coach Skip Hudgins. “But our M.O. right now is that we can’t stop the bleeding when it happens. (Those errors) are a sign of a team that doesn’t quite now how to take care of business right now – a team that doesn’t know how to close.”

Via struck out four batters in his 4.2 innings of work. Nick Pegan went 2 for 3 but was the only Warrior to reach base multiple times.

Carroll gave up one earned run, and struck out five batters while giving up just four hits in five innings of work , picking up the win. He also was 2 for 4 at the plate and picked up a pair of stolen bases.

“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff tonight and it was one of those games that you just have to push through,” Carroll said. “We started off a little slow but we put it together when we needed to.”

Culver led the way offensively by going 1 for 4 with three RBI, and his double in the top of the fifth came two feet away from clearing the center field fence. Talley wound up 1 for 3 with two RBI. Jeff Buckler went 2 for 2 while also drawing a pair of walks to reach base in all four of his plate appearances and scoring twice.

Louisa (2-1, 1-0) will head to William Monroe on Friday at 5 p.m.

Western (1-2, 0-1) heads to Covenant on Thursday at 5 p.m.