Magna Vista and Tunstall’s baseball teams battled amidst rainy conditions in a roller coaster of a game Thursday afternoon in Ridgeway. The two teams traded multiple leads between intermittent showers, with the Trojans coming out on top 9-8.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Warriors trailed 6-1, but thanks to some timely offense they were able to rally for seven runs. Their lead was not safe for long, however, as Tunstall quickly overcame the two-run deficit in the top of the seventh, tacking on three runs to put the game just out of reach for Magna Vista.
“I asked the kids to leave it on the field, and we can say we did that,” Warriors coach Sam Suite said about the loss. “We gave everything we had, and at the end of the day if we make a couple plays, get a couple calls, it’s a different ballgame.”
After a scoreless first two frames, Magna Vista struck first in the bottom of the third inning. Ian Martin got things started with a sharp single to right field, and the Warriors took advantage of his speed on the basepaths. Martin stole second and advanced to third and home on consecutive infield singles.
As the rain picked up in the fourth, the Trojans benefited from strong plate discipline, scoring on a bases loaded walk and a groundout by Landon Jones. Tunstall reloaded the bases, but a steady downpour halted the game amidst a Magna Vista pitching change.
“We were looking at the weather radar coming into today, trying to decide, ‘Are we going, are we not,’” Suite said of the decision to play through the rain. “We had all the turf dryer ready, so when the storms did hit, we just threw it out there.”
Ultimately, the game continued after the Warriors undertook some field work. Senior Hunter Powell, committed to play at Hampden-Sydney College in the fall, pitched Magna Vista out of the jam following the return to action.
The Trojans kept their momentum going into the top of the fifth, scoring four more runs on a total of two walks, four straight hits, and a sacrifice fly by Daniel Hicks, giving them a 6-1 lead.
The Warriors were in need of a big inning and they got it in the bottom of the sixth. They batted around, scratching out seven runs. Tommy Powell was hit by a pitch to lead the inning off, and three straight walks brought him home. The bats came alive for the bottom half of Magna Vista’s lineup with the bases loaded, resulting in singles by Landen Moore, Caden Shively, and Xavier Ashley. Powell was hit again to drive in the tying run. A fielder’s choice and throwing error by Tunstall made the score 8-6 in the Warriors’ favor.
“I was worried that after [the delay] the kids would come out flat,” Suite said about his team’s burst late in the game. “But they came out and fought. That was really big for us.”
Magna Vista was unable to hold onto their lead in the final frame. Hicks plated the tying two runs for the Trojans with a single to left field and a go-ahead Dylan Younger sacrifice fly dashed the Warriors’ hopes of a comeback.
Despite the loss, Suite hopes his team will carry their gritty approach that kept them in Thursday’s game with them throughout the rest of the season.
“Finish out strong and grind it out,” he said about his team’s mindset moving forward. “Every at bat and every pitch, grind it out.”
Magna Vista (3-7) will look to bounce back Tuesday at 5 p.m. with a home matchup against Patrick County, while Tunstall will return to action at Halifax Tuesday at 5 p.m.