Jhalil Mosley couldn’t see the ball pop out near the plate as he smashed into Woodgrove catcher Matt Reed and was stopped well short of the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning after a Josh Malm single.
But he didn’t hear the umpire either.
“I didn’t see it at all, I just tried to squirm around him,” Mosley said. “I didn’t hear (the umpire) say out or anything so I just kept trying to get to the plate.”
Mosley tagged the plate after what looked like a rugby scrum in the batter’s box, and with the crafty move, extended Monticello’s season with a 4-3 win in the first round of Region II play.
“I know what he’s capable of and I’m sending him the whole way,” said Monticello coach Cory Hunt. “The kid made a heck of a throw from right field but you just need a little bit of luck in that scenario.”
It was an appropriately wild finish to one of the wildest games in Central Virginia this year. The Mustangs took a 3-1 lead with a strong second inning that included RBIs from Kyle Jacobson, Will Decker and Mosley. But after Woodgrove tied it up in the fifth by scoring on an error, Monticello had to pull out all the stops to keep the game even and keep their season alive.
The most outlandish escape came in the eighth, when Woodgrove put two runners on with a single and a walk with no outs. The Wolverines’ Tyler Moxley tried to lay down a bunt to advance the two runners, but the bunt popped up to Monticello pitcher Brandon Beasley. Beasley quickly whipped the ball to first and caught the runner between first and second. That’s when Monticello senior catcher Connor Lilley realized the other Woodgrove runner was still close to third.
“I was trying to get his attention,” Lilley said. “(Kyle Jacobson) was confused because the runner was at third. It was just a crazy play and I was kind of losing my mind. That was a huge momentum play for us.”
Lilley finally caught the attention of Jacobson, who started on the mound but was at first after Beasley relieved him, and Jacobson whipped the ball to second to complete a 1-4-6 triple play. It’s believed to be the first triple play at Monticello High in the school’s history.
It also allowed the Mustangs, for the moment, to keep their season alive. Beasley loaded the bases again in the ninth, but got out with a pair of strikeouts that bookended the walk to load the bases. Then in the top of the 10th, Woodgrove’s leadoff hitter ripped a double down the right field line and tried to extend it into a triple. The relay throw by second baseman Bobby Andris from shallow right field gunned out the Wolverines’ runner. Sean Byrnes, who came in to pitch in the 10th for the Mustangs, walked another batter but then struck out two-straight to set up the Monticello heroics in the final frame.
Jacobson’s six inning, six-strikeout effort laid a solid foundation for the Mustangs.
“He’s been the rock of this team — he’s stepped up when we needed him,” Hunt said. “He fights up there — he grinds it out and gets the job done.”
Sam Patterson had a huge day at the plate with a 4-for-5 effort that fell a home run short of the cycle and started with the triple that kickstarted the Mustangs’ big second inning. He also had four putouts in centerfield, a couple of them tough, against the wall catches. Will Decker went 2-for-3 and drew a pair of walks for Monticello. Mosley went 2 for 4 on the night.
Monticello will play at Sherando Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Region II quarterfinals.