Two games into the postseason, Western Albemarle’s Garrett Payne is starting to make a habit of coming up big in critical spots for the Warriors.
Throw in a monster effort on the hill by Jack Masloff and you’ve got the exact mix fourth-seeded Western Albemarle needed to upset defending state champion and No. 1 seed Turner Ashby 6-2 on the road Tuesday night in the Region 3C semifinals.
With the win, the Warriors punch their ticket to the state tournament and earn a spot in Thursday’s Region C championship against Fluvanna County.
Payne went 3-for-3 with five RBI including a 2-run home run in the third inning, a two-RBI single in the first inning and an RBI single in the fifth.
Masloff made all those runs count with a complete game effort, striking out eight while allowing just three hits and a trio of walks. With just one error behind him helping lead to the two runs, Masloff didn’t allow a single earned run on the night in a clutch performance.
Western jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Payne’s first RBI single and then build that into a 5-0 lead after a three-run third. Chris McGahren came up with the other RBI in that frame, driving home Brendan Campbell. McGahren went 2-for-3 at the plate, scored three times and drew a walk. Payne and McGahren actually had all of the Warriors’ five hits between them, though the Warriors drew five walks including two by Derek Domecq to keep the pressure on Turner Ashby. Domecq and Campbell each scored runs.
Defensively, Luke Tenuta made a diving catch on a popup while Wyatt Hull snagged a line drive for an out and Devon Powell made a diving catch in right field.
Western will take on Fluvanna at 6 on Thursday at Fluvanna County, the predetermined site for the Region 3C championships.