Terriers will need to make regional in BRD tourney
There’s nowhere to go but up for the William Byrd baseball team. The Terriers are an uncharacteristic 0-4 in Blue Ridge District play as they host Rockbridge County Friday night to conclude the first half of the BRD schedule.
Byrd hit rock bottom with a 7-5 loss to Staunton River on Tuesday. Nothing went well for the Terriers as Britton Chocklette, one of the top pitchers in the district, gave up six runs in the bottom of the first inning on a series of bloopers, bleeders and free passes. The Eagles hit one ball to the outfield in scoring a half dozen runs.
“They didn’t hit a ball hard the whole inning,” said a frustrated Byrd coach Chris Carr. “There’s an error, a walk, a nubber that no one can get to on time, then another walk, a hit batter, a bloop hit, a 10 hopper between first and second, a fielders’ choice, another walk and a sacrifice.”
To top it off the Terriers struggled at the plate against Staunton River pitcher Cameron Paksoy.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Carr. “He was throwing 78 miles per hour with a lazy curveball and no change. We should be able to hit him. If we struggle against a really good pitcher, that’s one thing. But when we struggle like this I have to question our mental makeup.”
Collin Hill had a home run and a single to highlight Byrd’s night. Chocklette had a triple and Timmy Meador had a single, but that was all Byrd could muster at the plate. Chocklette took the loss on the mound with relief from Scott Spradlin.
Last Friday in Vinton the Terriers played a thriller against first place Northside, the undefeated defending state champs. The Vikings pulled out a 3-0 win in 10 innings in a pitcher’s dual between lefties Hill and Todd Dunbar.
Hill was spectacular for the Terriers, going eight innings and allowing just four hits and one walk against the potent Northside lineup. He struck out five and left without yielding a run.
Northside’s Dunbar was equally good on the other side, also going eight. Dunbar then won it in the top of the 10th with a three run homer, sending one deep into the night with two outs and two strikes.
“I can understand it when we don’t hit against a good pitcher like that,” said Carr. “But we easily could have won that game. We had some chances but couldn’t get the big hit with men on base.”
At 0-4 Byrd has little chance of winning the regular season, but three teams go to the Region III tournament and two will be selected in the district tournament. Last year Northside came out of the BRD tourney and won the state.
“At Byrd we don’t talk about winning the regular season, we want to win the region,” said Carr. “I told the kids we’re not going to win the district, and that’s okay. I’d rather win the region.”
Byrd’s best hope is to build some momentum in the remaining games and get hot around tournament time. The Terriers host Rockbridge at 5 pm Friday, then play at Hidden Valley in a jayvee-varsity doubleheader Saturday, with the jayvees playing at noon and the varsity at 2:30 pm.
Next Tuesday Byrd opens the second half of the BRD season with a game at Lord Botetourt. The Cavaliers and Northside are both unbeaten in the BRD and they’ll play in Daleville Friday night to determine the district leader at the turn.
“I can see us winning the rest of our games,” said Carr. “If that happens that won’t shock me at all, because we have the talent to do so.”