Ashburn, Va. — On the heels of a district regular season championship, the Broad Run High School baseball team had its eyes set on the region crown, which included a berth into the VHSL 4A State tournament. In front of a hometown crowd, the Spartans used a sturdy defense, a patient lineup, and a brilliant start by senior southpaw Connor Hale to dominate the Colonels, 13-3, and claim the VHSL Region 4C title on June 16 in Ashburn.
“Our seniors were hungry to get back here and prove themselves [after losing in the region championship in 2019]. They worked their butts off,” Broad Run head coach Tommy Meier said. “I don’t think it’s really set in yet; it’s pretty overwhelming.”
After Hale sat the Colonels down in order in the top of the first, Broad Run senior center fielder Adam Chow led off the bottom of the first with a line drive single up the middle. Hale moved Chow over with a ground out to first before the speedy center fielder swiped third base. Chow’s heads up baserunning would prove fruitful as sophomore third baseman Andrew Market grounded out to short to drive in Chow and give the Spartans a 1-0 lead early.
“It felt nice to get some runs on the board early, because it allowed Connor to hone in and deal,” Meier said.
With two outs, Broad Run senior second baseman Tyler Morley hit a routine ground ball to third base which the third baseman threw away allowing Morley to advance to second. After recovering the ball, James Wood proceeded to throw the ball into center field allowing Morley to advance to third. The very next batter, senior catcher Joe Ferguson, hit a ground ball to the shortstop’s backhand side and another throw drew the first baseman off the bag as the Spartans scored 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 James Wood errors in the first.
“All season we’ve done a good job of coming out and putting pressure on the defense,” Meier said. “It’s not always pretty, but we try our best to put the ball in play and get as many base runners on base as possible. We always seem to find a way to get those guys in.”
The Colonels responded immediately as James Wood senior first baseman Aden Payne belted a leadoff home run to left in the top of the second. Unfortunately for James Wood, that home run was really the last offensive spark they saw for the remainder of the game.
Hale worked quickly after that, retiring 8 of the next 9 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the third and scattering just three hits over his last three innings of work to pick up the win.
“Connor just did tonight what he’s done for four years. We’ve trusted him with the ball in all our big games since he was a freshman,” Meier said. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He’s a heck of a ballplayer, he’s a competitor, he’s confident, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else pitching in a game like this.”
Hale and the Spartans got offensive support throughout their lineup led by Chow, Market, and Hale himself. Chow reached base safely in 4 of his 5 plate appearances, scoring three times, while swiping a pair of bags. Hale reached safely in 3 of his 4 plate appearances, scoring twice, while also swiping two bases. Finally, Market drove in Chow in the first with a groundout, senior shortstop Anthony Franzonello in the second with a sac fly, and Chow and Hale in the fourth with a double to right center.
“I was just sitting fastball the whole time. I saw a fastball out over the ball, so I threw my hands at it,” Market said. “It carried a little bit so that helped.”
Leading 9-3 heading into the sixth, Hale got the Spartans rally started with a leadoff walk before stealing second then heading to third on a wild pitch. James Wood retired the next two Broad Run batters before the Spartans started their eventual, game-winning two-out rally.
Broad Run junior catcher Jackson Vickers reached on another E5 before senior left fielder Matthew Mizelle reached on his second single of the night. After a pitching change, junior designated hitter Will Snyder was hit by pitch—reaching for the third time—before the Colonels walked the next three batters to force in the Spartans’ 11th, 12th, and 13th runs.
With the win, Broad Run earned a spot in the VHSL 4A State tournament, where they’ll host Region 4D Champ Halifax County on June 22 in Ashburn. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“So much about baseball is just trying to continue the season and get to the next game,” Meier said. “It sucks having a shortened season, but we just want to play as many games together as we can.”
Broad Run Batting
James Wood Batting
Broad Run Pitching
James Wood Pitching
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