By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Intern
Leesburg (May 27, 2013) – A monumental momentum swing during the first round of the Region II baseball tournament came off the bat of Loudoun Valley High School’s Chad Fletcher in the form of a 3-run home run over the scoreboard in left field as the Vikings went on to defeat Heritage, 10-4.
“One swing of the bat, momentum can change in a game whether it’s a home run or a groundball with a double play,” said Fletcher, a senior first baseman. “I was just trying to make something go for my team. I hit it pretty good and gave us some momentum.”
Fletcher’s home run came the inning after Heritage’s Nick Fuhrmann hit a long ball in almost the same spot during a Pride rally that made it a two run game in the Vikings favor.
“They scored in the bottom of the inning, they dropped three on us,” said Loudoun Valley coach Wayne Todd. “Chad’s home run swings momentum right back to us at that point. I’m really happy for Chad. He is a great kid and he works really hard.”
The home run proved to be insurance for the Vikings that they would not need as Will Reed stopped the Pride’s offense, allowing four runs across seven innings.
“He hit his spots,” Todd said. “He pretty much controlled two pitches: fastball, curveball. He’s a fastball-curveball guy, and in the bullpen he had the location of both going. He was able to throw them where he needed to.”
Reed threw against Heritage in both of their regular season matchups this year, but Todd went with the junior again to get past a Pride lineup that has hit well of late.
“This is the third time he has pitched against them and he’s had success every time,” Todd said. “Last time he lost a 1-0 game, throwing a 2-hitter and the first time he beat them 3-2. Not as dominating as the first two times, but he was pretty good.”
Reed only slipped in the fourth and seventh innings, but got his team the win with a dominant curveball and solid defensive effort.
“The defense behind me, whenever I’m pitching, has allowed me to win these games,” Reed said. “My curveball was working when we wanted to get the first pitch strikes. The fastball was working until the last inning.”
In the seventh, Heritage seemed to have life late as junior Zack Hopeck dropped a line drive single in front of the Viking’s centerfielder Danny White. Fuhrmann followed with an infield single and two walks later the Pride appeared to be in motion. However, it was too little, too late for head coach Ryan Price and his squad.
“It was a positive year for the team and the baseball program at Heritage,” said Price, who has led his team to back-to-back Region II tournaments. “We kind of ran out of gas at the end. We made some mistakes we haven’t made all year and they hurt us tonight. A positive year: something to build on. We plan to be right back here next year.”
Loudoun Valley looks to keep their momentum rolling into their quarterfinal match-up at Sherando High School Tuesday night at 7 p.m. as one of three Loudoun baseball teams still in the hunt for a title.
“We’re just going to keep the same mindset we have had,” Fletcher said. “We’re going try and play our best defense; we’re going to try to pitch well. The bats are going to come. We have been swinging it pretty well the last couple games so we just want to try and continue that for tomorrow.”
McDyre 2-5, R, RBI
White 1-4, 2B, BB, R
Grayson 1-4, ROE, 2 R, RBI
Southerland 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 R
Fletcher 2-2, HR, 2 BB, 2 R, 4 RBI
Reed 1-2, 2 RBI D.
Pugh 2 BB, R, CS
Lohr sac bunt, BB, R
Hopeck 2-4, ROE, 2 R
Fuhrmann 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI
Gloger 2 BB, R, RBI
Richards 2-4, 2 2B Wood 1-3, RBI
Reed W 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Gloger L 4.1 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Turner .2+ IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
Fuhrmann 2 IP, 1 K
Owen Gotimer just completed his freshman year at Syracuse University and is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg.