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Cannons rally to win playoff opener

Tom Sutera was dominant in four innings of scoreless relief.—File Photo
A four-run seventh inning combined with four scoreless innings of relief by Tom Sutera led the Purcellville Cannons to a 5-3 victory against the Winchester Royals in the first round of the Valley Baseball League playoffs July 30 at Fireman's Field in Purcellville.

The Cannons take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, with game two scheduled for July 31 in Winchester. Purcellville is the top seed in the VBL's North division after going 26-16 in the regular season.

Trailing 3-1 heading to the home half of the seventh inning, the Cannons pushed four runs across to take the lead.

Loudoun Valley High School alum Trey McDyre (Liberty) singled to lead off the frame. Andy Szamski (Radford) followed by drawing a walk and Nolan Ritchie (Alabama) singled to load the bases.

One batter later, Brodie Leftridge (Tennessee) delivered a two-run double to tie the game before Lamar Briggs (Jackson State) drove home two runs with a two-out single to give the Cannons a 5-3 lead.

That was more than enough support for Sutera, who struck out 11 batters and did not allow a baserunner to earn the win. Sutera (Siena) won six games and recorded three saves in 15 relief appearances during the regular season.

Ritchie homered in the third inning for Purcellville's first run of the game.


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