By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
with Kyle Gotimer, Viva Loudoun High School Intern
Purcellville (May 30, 2014) – Loudoun Valley High School sophomore catcher Hunter Gore hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to jump start a Vikings’ offense which went on to defeat William Monroe High School, 12-1, in the Conference 28 title game in Purcellville on May 30.
“It’s always good to be the start of a rally. When it leads to scoring a lot of runs and a big win, it’s always a good thing,” Gore said.
Following Gore’s home run in the fifth, the Vikings jumped on the William Monroe Dragons in the sixth extending their lead by way of strategic, run manufacturing.
“Other than the home run, I thought our running game and our ability to drop down a couple of bunts got things moving,” Loudoun Valley head coach Wayne Todd said.
During the sixth inning, Loudoun Valley dropped down a pair of bunt singles, the first by senior second baseman Brandon Grayson to lead off the inning. The next batter junior centerfielder Sam Urban followed Grayson with a bunt of his own, a play in which Grayson went 180-feet, from first to third, on a sleeping Dragons’ defense.
“[Running] is something we work on all the time. We’re playing people now that haven’t seen and that don’t know a lot about us. Evidently they knew a little about us because they were trying to take a couple bunts away early,” said Todd.
Loudoun Valley stole six bases on the night including two double steals. In the bottom of the fifth, senior designated hitter Collin Hoffmann took off for second base and as the bewildered pitcher turned to throw, sophomore shortstop Trey McDyre broke for the plate allowing Hoffmann to reach second safely while McDyre scored the Vikings’ second run.
On the flip side, William Monroe seemed timid on the base paths as runner after runner hung around the bases and decided not to get very big leads. Unfortunately for the Dragons, one runner got a little too greedy.
In the top of the second, senior pitching ace Will Reed picked off William Monroe junior pitcher Jeffrey Early who reached on a single just one pitch earlier.
“They didn’t get very big leads so they must have heard we picked a few people off every now and then,” Todd stated.
Reed allowed only two hits on the night while striking out two Dragon batters in just six innings of work relying heavily on his defense in the Vikings’ victory.
Senior left fielder Mikey Pugh saved Reed early on when he made an amazing diving catch in the top of the first inning. Twice Reed was saved by Grayson – who made a jumping line drive snag in the top of the fifth and a diving stop for the assist in the top of the sixth.
“We can play defense. We work tirelessly on defense. It’s always been a philosophy of mine: if you’re going to pitch and play defense you’re going to give yourself a chance to win,” Todd said. “I tell them all the time that they’re not always going to do well at the plate, but two things have to be solid: you have to throw strikes and you have to play defense. There should be no excuse for not having a good game in those two spots. That’s what we do most of the time.”
And that’s what the Vikings will try to do when they open the 3A East region tournament at Fireman’s Field on June 1.
Grayson 2-5, 2B, R, RBI
Urban 1-2, BB, R, SB
Carpenter 2-3, BB, R, RBI, 2 SB
McDyre 1-3, BB, R, RBI, 2 SB
Hoffmann 1-4, 2 R, SB
Woods 2-2, BB, R
Gore 1-4, HR, ROE, 2 R, RBI
Lockhart 1-3, 2B, HBP, R, 3 RBI
Pugh, M. 1-3, HBP, R, RBI
Pugh, D. 1-1, R, RBI
Battern ROE, SB
Early 1-2, HBP
Trevillian BB, R
Reed W 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, HBP, 2 K
DeGroat 1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K
Early L 3 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, HBP, 2 K
Payne 2.2 IP, 10 R, 6 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, HBP, 4 K
Collier .1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and will enter his senior year at Syracuse University this fall. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!