Baseball players from Dominion, Park View and Potomac Falls high schools joined forces in an effort to win the Virginia Big League tournament July 8-10 at Park View.
The boys, who together represented Lower Loudoun Little League, fell short of their goal, losing to Dumfries-Triangle-Quantico Little League 2-1 in the championship round, after advancing out of the losers bracket.
“I had high hopes and it’s disappointing, but these guys played their hearts out,” Lower Loudoun coach Paul Earle said. “It just didn’t go our way.”
Lower Loudoun hosted this year’s Big League tournament, which features players ages 16-18. The event featured just three teams, hailing from Azalea/Plaza, Dumfries-Triangle-Quantico and Lower Loudoun, after two teams dropped out of the event.
As the winner of the tournament, DTQ will travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to represent Virginia in the Southeastern Regional Big League tournament that begins July 15.
The Big League season begins at the conclusion of the high school varsity season. This year, Lower Loudoun fielded two teams that played each other, as well as other area teams. For many of the players, the Big League is an opportunity to finish youth ball in the league they started in.
“I played my entire life with them, until I was 15 or so,” said 2012 Potomac Falls graduate Sam Bass. “I wanted to give back.”
The two Lower Loudoun teams played each other for the right to represent Lower Loudoun in the Big League tournament.
The tournament was a bumpy road for Lower Loudoun. As the host team, Loudoun received a first round bye, but fell to DTQ 5-2 in the second round July 8. In order to reach the championship, Lower Loudoun had to defeat Azalea/Plaza later that night.
Bass drove in Ryan Doyle on a long double in the first inning to give Lower Loudoun a 1-0 league. But Azalea/Plaza responded in the third inning, capitalizing on Lower Loudoun’s errors to score four runs and forcing Loudoun to play catch- up the rest of the game.
Loudoun pulled themselves within one after scoring two runs in the third. Then Billy Swift ran out of a pickle in between third and home in the sixth to score the tying run.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the home half of the seventh inning, Wyatt Kinney slapped the ball to third base to score Nick DeMott with the winning run for Loudoun, eliminating Azalea/Plaza.
“I’ve always wanted to do that with bases loaded,” said Kinney, a 2012 graduate of Park View. “I’ve pictured it in my head a bunch of times.”
Loudoun’s win once again pitted them against DTQ in a must-win game July 9.
The two teams were in-step the majority of the game. DTQ scored in the bottom of the first, but Loudoun answered in the third when Sean Stubbs plated Doyle. The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh, when DTQ’s Ron Harrell drove in Shawn Boyce with the winning run, ending Loudoun’s tournament.
“We lost 2-1 in the seventh inning,” Kinney said. “We were in it the whole game. We didn’t kill ourselves; we just got beat by them.”
-All photos by Greg Nash
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