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Region I baseball: Resilient Foxes outlast Warhill

Region I baseball quarterfinal: King George 7, Warhill 4

BY STEVE DeSHAZO

For most of this baseball season, Damion Carroll has carried more than his share of the load for King George.

In Monday’s 90-degree heat, the Foxes returned the favor, picking up their struggling ace in a 7–4 victory over visiting Warhill in the Region I quarterfinals.

Carroll labored through five difficult innings and left with the score tied at 4. But the Foxes manufactured three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and senior Lex Estes pitched two scoreless innings of relief to send King George into the regional semifinals.

The Foxes (19–3) will visit Southampton Wednesday with a Group AA state tournament berth at stake.

“We’ve just been a really resilient team all year,” coach Thad Reviello said. “We haven’t kicked the ball around like we did today, but we fought through it.

“This was the school’s first regional game since 1988, so I’m sure nerves played a big factor.”

So did the oppressive heat, which sapped both starters.

Carroll, the Battlefield District player of the year, needed 114 pitches to get through five laborious innings. He allowed three infield singles, but also walked six, threw four wild pitches and hit a batter. He also committed one of the Foxes’ four errors.

“I didn’t really have my best stuff today,” Carroll said. “I knew they couldn’t hit me, so I didn’t try to gas up. I battled.”

The Foxes had slightly more luck against Warhill’s Teddy West, the Bay Rivers District pitcher of the year. But Carroll’s wildness and King George’s four errors allowed the Lions (19–4) to stay even through 4 innings.

But each time Warhill scored, the Foxes responded. And the bottom of their batting order was the catalyst for their three-run rally in the fifth.

Zac Kegley led off with a bloop single, was sacrificed to second and reached third on Matthew Hunt’s third hit of the game, a single to center. Michael Hundley then reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases.

Cody Bell drew a tie-breaking, bases-loaded walk, and another run scored on an error. David Hunt then laid down a squeeze bunt for another insurance run.

Estes then retired six straight batters to give Reviello a victory over the school he coached in 2008 and ’09. Dylan Dombrowskas’ two-run double in the second inning also helped.

Even though Carroll didn’t show the dominating form that has attracted pro scouts all spring, he impressed both coaches.

“He battled,” Reviello said. “Every great pitcher has to do that. He did a great job. That shows how far he’s come. Two years ago—maybe even last year, he wouldn’t have had the toughness to battle through that.”

Warhill coach Joe Henzel said Carroll’s reputation may have been more daunting than his fastball Monday.

“He’s the kind of pitcher you can get preoccupied with,” Henzel said, pointing to his team’s three errors. “We got so caught up in going against him that we didn’t do what we needed to do to be successful. He gives them a big psychological and physical presence.

“We scrapped against him, but there’s only so many rabbits you can pull out of a hat before you get a handful of poop.”

R H E

Warhill 2000 200 4 3 3

King George 2200 30x 7 8 4

TEDDY WEST and Blake Wills. DAMION CARROLL, Lex Estes (6) and Tyler Truslow.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443

sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/05/28/region-i-baseball-resilient-foxes-outlast-warhill/

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