Fluvanna County’s baseball team headed into this season as the defending Class 3 State Champions by virtue of the Flucos’ 2019 state title run. Unfortunately for the Flucos, their title defense ended Monday night as the Flucos were taken down by Spotswood in the Region 3C quarterfinals 3-1.
“First off hats off to their starter (Andrew) Baugher, he didn’t strike out a single one of our kids but he competed the entire time, and what contact we had other than John Boy’s home run was pretty much soft ground balls or fly balls that were easy to catch,” said Fluvanna coach Joel Gray. “Defensively we struggled as well, they had guys that got on base via free 90s, and we would get a passed ball that would put them in scoring position or they’d steal a base, that and holding runners is something that we’ll have to get better at.”
From the start, the game had the feeling of a pitcher’s duel. Fluvanna’s West Virginia commitment, sophomore John Glasscock, and Spotswood’s Baugher were both dealing, with admittedly different approaches. But both were locked in to the point that both lineups were kept scoreless for four innings.
Then in the fifth inning, the Blazers finally got to Fluvanna’s hard throwing righty as Ryan Shonk scored on a Luke Keister RBI single to give their team a 1-0 lead. Keister ended up going 1-for-4 with an RBI and a steal, while Shonk went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a hit-by-pitch.
The Blazers weren’t done at the plate against Glasscock, they put two more runs on the board in the sixth on an RBI single from Jaden Shifflett and A.J. Dooms who scored on a wild pitch after Glasscock had been replaced on the mound to make it 3-0. Glasscock left the game after pitching five and two-thirds innings giving up three runs with six strikeouts, two walks and three hit-by-pitches.
The Fluco bats found themselves in a big hole down three with six outs left to play with and a lack of hard contact made in the game up until to that point. But with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, John Rittenhouse blasted a solo shot to left field in what turned out to be the final at-bat of his Fluco career to make it a 3-1 deficit. He ended up going 2-for-3 with the dinger on the night. Another key offensive performance came from Pierson Barnabei who went 1-2 with a single and a hit-by-pitch.
It seemed like the Fluco bats may finally put something together after the homer, but Baugher dug deep and shut the door on his way to pitching six and a third innings of one run ball, giving up no walks, hitting two batters and striking out none. He got into trouble in the seventh, hitting two batters and only getting one out, but the Blazers brought in Keister to close it out, and he struck out the first two batters he faced, ending Fluvanna’s season.
With the loss, the Fluco careers of the senior class, and the last remaining players from the 2019 title team come to a close. However, the Flucos won’t be going away any time soon.
“I want to thank the seniors, they have some great memories here to take with them through life, they competed the whole time and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Gray. “We do have a lot of talent coming in the future, there are some really good young players in the program all the way down to the middle school level, very competitive kids who play baseball year-round so I’m hoping the future’s bright, if we mature a little bit and spend our time in the weight room like we should, hopefully we’ll get back on track.”