Coming into the year, if William Monroe had put together a mediocre year they’d have rightfully earned the moniker of road warriors. Any baseball team that lives on a bus deserves respect, and with the Dragon’s home field in Stanardsville out of commission this season because of construction, they’ve spent an awful lot of hours commuting. Almost two full months into the season, it’s more than apparent that this team doesn’t mind travelling, and on Friday night, Monroe made yet another road trip and picked up yet another Jefferson District win, but this one was slightly different that the other. The Dragon’s 19-7 win over then second place Fluvanna County wrapped up the JD regular season title.
“(Winning the JD) feels great, these kids have worked very hard for it,” said Monroe coach Mike Maynard. “I thought that we weren’t that strong defensively today as we usually are, but we swung the bats so well that that wound up cancelling it out. Fluvanna gaves a run there to begin with but all our guys saw the ball well today.”
It was a hitters battle from start to finish with the Flucos drawing first blood in the bottom of the first as they scored a pair of runs on a single from a Sam Turner.
Monroe answered in the top of the second with two runs on an RBI single from Zach Duprey and an RBI groundout from Jacob Hirtz. The next inning the Dragons got hot and took a 7-2 lead thanks to an RBI single from Ryan Leake, an RBI ground out from Duprey and then a bomb from Hirtz. With a pair of runners on base, Hirtz, who bat’s ninth in the order, got a hold of a pitch and cranked it over the left field fence.
“It’s all about preparation,” Hirtz said of both his hitting and his team’s succes. “We like to keep it light on the bus, but we’re still constantly thinking about the game. We practice, we’ve got great coaching. We just know what to do.”
Fluvanna fought back in the bottom of the third to make it a game again. The Flucos scored four runs to cut the deficit to one run. First Nolan Radcliff knocked in a run on a single. Nick Algieri drove in a pair of runs on a single followed by an error. Finally, Javon Burton came through with an RBI single. Fluvanna got just one more run though in the next three innings. The story was different for Monroe.
“Sometimes you’re windshield and sometimes you’re the bug,” Sheridan said. “We were the bug tonight. That’s a great baseball team we played — and hey, they put up five runs and we were able to respond with four to make it a game there. I was happy with that.”
The Dragons got three runs in the fourth to extend the lead, and absolutely exploded in the sixth to set up a slaughter rule victory. Up 9-7, Monroe scored ten runs, nine of them coming with no outs as Ryan Morris led the inning off with a solo shot and the next eight batters all reached base safely after that. Ryan Leake drove in a pair of runs, as did Cody Thacker. Austin Batten drove in a run on a ground out. Fluvanna struggled to throw strikes during the inning as well with the bases loaded.
The 12-run lead was too much for the Flucos to handle in one inning as Monroe clamped down defensively in the sixth to wrap up the win.
Monroe (13-1, 10-0) travels to Orange County on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Fluvanna (7-9, 6-4) kicks off a loaded week on Tuesday with a visit from Goochland on Tuesday at 5 p.m.