William Monroe baseball dug itself an early hole but found a way out of it against Culpeper. But after a rally by Blue Devils in the fifth, getting out of that second hole proved problematic. The Dragons put the go ahead run to the plate in both the fifth and seventh innings, but Culpeper’s Zach Smith worked out of both jams and the Blue Devils were able to walk out of Stanardsville with a 7-5 win.
“We love coming to play Monroe because it’s a beautiful complex, but the only thing you don’t like is that the fence is a little short so you might come here and get a couple of homers hit on you,” said Culpeper coach Brandon Mack. “This is a big win. That’s a really good team we played and one of the best in our district.
The Blue Devils jumped on the Dragons early. An error and an Eric Wilson RBI single allowed Culpeper to plate two runners in the top of the second. Then in the third, the Blue Devils tacked on three more runs after a 2-run double from Hunter Bowers and an RBI groundout to make it 5-1.
“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes tonight that we don’t normally make and that really hurts us,” said Dragons coach Mike Maynard.
Monroe leaned on the long ball to get back into the game. The big rally in the bottom of the third started with a solo shot from Lance Tate. Then with two outs, Reilly Owen walked, Jonathan Sexton single and Sal Coyle came through with a 3-run homerun to tie things up at 5-5.
“That was a big hit and he’s always capable of doing that,” Maynard said. “He squared one up and it gave us a chance. We just didn’t do the rest of the things we needed to after that.”
Culpeper picked up the winning runs in the fifth starting with a leadoff single from Smith. A walk to Zach Gray and Ben Anderson getting hit by a pitch with one out loaded the bases. Vincent Riveria made Monroe pay for it as he came up with a 2-run double to make it 7-5.
Monroe drew a pair of one out walks in the fifth but was unable to manufacture a run in the process. Then in the seventh, the Dragons drew another pair of walks and advanced those runners to third and second with two outs. However, Smith picked up a strikeout to end the game.
Smith finished 2-for-3 at the plate while striking out seven batters in three innings of relief. Bowers was 1-for-2 with two walks, two RBI and two runs scored.
For Monroe, Sexton was the lone Dragon with multiple hits, going 2-for-2 with two walks. Coyle and Brandon Collier were each 1-for-3.
The Dragons (8-6) have road trips to Manassas Park on Tuesday and then Skyline on Thursday.