Never let it be said Carroll County’s baseball team can’t win for losing.
Trailing Galax 11-9 at the end of Thursday’s game in Hillsville, the Cavaliers instead walked away with a 7-6 victory. How is that possible, you ask? The answer is quite simple. It’s a Virginia High School League rule.
For those of you thinking that answer is clear as mud, here’s the longer explanation. Galax led Carroll 11-9 in the bottom of the sixth inning after Trace Davis’ two-out, two-run double put the tying run on second base for the Cavs. With the game nearing the three-hour mark, however, the umpire called the game due to darkness at approximately 8 p.m. as Bill Worrell Field does not have lights.
“I’m not getting anybody killed. That’s the game,” the umpire said.
When a game is stopped such as Thursday’s contest, it reverts to the score at the end of the last completed inning. If the game has gone five innings, it is then considered an official contest. Since Carroll led 7-6 at the end of the fifth inning, the last completed inning, the Cavaliers earned the victory.
“We got to see a lot today and that was good for both teams. It helped both teams out and that is what these early games are for,” Carroll County head coach Joe Tompkins said, adding that the game could possibly be completed at a later date. “It just depends on both of our schedules if we can work it out. But realistically, to play one inning, it is probably not going to happen.”
Galax baseball coach Bobby Parnell also left the door open for possibly completing the game.
“It would be up to Joe. It wouldn’t bother me. I don’t want to cheat him out of anything,” Parnell said. “It’s a tough way for a loss but my kids battled. And if we did, we did, if we didn’t, if he wants to play it again, we will be more than glad to.”
Galax struck first, taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Matt Coomes crushed a grand slam over the left field fence. Freshman pitcher Jacob Breen came on in relief and pitched well, holding the Maroon Tide scoreless for 2.2 innings and striking out four.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers fought back to take the lead with five runs in the bottom of the third inning. Lane Myers led off the inning with Carroll’s first hit of the game, a single to center field. Blake Stanley followed with a sacrifice bunt to move courtesy runner Brogan Bowman to second. Colin Wells was hit by a pitch and Brandt Puckett followed with an infield single to load the bases. Caden Hodges reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Bowman for the Cavs first run.
Trace Davis brought the Cavaliers closer with a two-run double through the gap to score Wells and Puckett. Isaiah Cupp’s RBI groundout to second scored Hodges to tie the game. Carroll took a 5-4 lead when Davis scored after Dacotah Heck reached on an error.
Galax regained the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth after Josh Spurlin was hit by a pitch and the Cavaliers committed three consecutive errors. Lucas Dalton’s sacrifice fly to center scored Stew Merdian to put the Maroon Tide back in front 6-5.
Carroll tied the game at 6-all in the bottom of the fourth after Lane Myers and Blake Stanley drew back-to-back walks. Puckett was hit by a pitch and Hodges’ second RBI fielder’s choice of the game scored Bowman to tie the contest.
Carroll relief pitcher Christian Bryant held Galax scoreless in a fifth inning that would eventually earn him the win. The Cavs unknowingly scored the winning run in the bottom half of the frame thanks to quite possibly the shortest base hit in the history of baseball. Trace Davis led the inning off by hitting a pop-up a mile high straight up in the air. With a heavy wind blowing, however, Galax catcher Josh Spurlin misread the ball, which landed in fair territory and died about two inches in front of the batter’s box, allowing Davis to reach on an incredibly fortuitous bounce.
“I knew he was going to miss it,” Tompkins joked about Davis’ hit. “A ball hit that high and as windy as it was, the catcher didn’t have a chance.”
Davis would go on to steal second base, advance to third on a passed ball, and score on a wild pitch.
And while that would officially be where the game ended, Galax rallied for five runs in the top of the sixth inning, which may have been the Maroon Tide’s undoing since the frame lasted more than 30 minutes with darkness quickly closing in.
Josh Spurlin led off the sixth with a single and moved to third on Merdian’s double to center. He would go on score what would have been the tying run on a wild pitch. Lucas Dalton apparently gave Galax the lead by reaching on an RBI fielder’s choice to score Merdian. The Maroon Tide would add three more runs on an error, wild pitch and walk with the bases loaded to go up 11-7 before the Cavaliers finally got out of the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Myers and Stanley drew consecutive walks to open the frame. Merdian struck out the next two batters, however, before Hodges singled up the middle to load the bases. Then with two outs and the ball hard to see, Davis ripped a two-run double to center to make it 11-9 with runners on second and third when the ump called the game due to darkness.
With the win, Carroll County improved to 2-1 on the season.
Galax 400 20 – 6 4 1
Carroll 005 11 – 7 4 3
Dalton, Berry (4), C. Spurlin (4), Merdian (5) and J. Spurlin (G); Felts, Breen (1), Bryant (4) and Myers (CC). WP – Bryant. LP – Merdian. 2B – Dalton (G); Davis (CC). HR – Coomes (G).
Floyd 5, Carroll 4
Floyd County scored five runs in the fifth and sixth innings March 22 to rally for a 5-4 win over visiting Carroll County in a non-district contest.
Trailing 4-0, the Buffaloes capitalized on a pair of errors for their first run in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Floyd strung together four consecutive hits after a walk to take a 5-4 lead the Cavaliers could not overcome.
Carroll took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Caden Hodges and Trace Davis singled. Hodges would later score on an error after a double steal attempt. The Cavaliers added three runs in the top of the second. With one out, Christian Bryant walked and Jacob Breen singled to left field. Blake Stanley walked with two outs to load the bases. Brandt Puckett was then hit by a pitch to score Bryant, and Caden Hodges reached on an error that scored Breen. Davis also reached on an error, allowing Stanley to score for a 4-0 Cavalier lead.
Floyd pitchers would retire the next 15 Cavalier hitters, however, until Puckett walked with two outs in the top of the seventh. The next batter struck out, allowing Floyd to escape with the come-from-behind victory.
Carroll 130 000 0 – 4 3 3
Floyd 000 014 x – 5 8 3
Heck, Hodges (3), Bryant (6) and Puckett (CC); Vest, Underwood (6), Landreth (7) and Bary (FC). WP – Underwood. LP – Bryant. 2B – Conner, Bary (FC).