Ashburn, Va. — The Briar Woods High School baseball team erased a 7-2 lead in a, 10-8, come-from-behind win over the Heritage Pride on March 27 in Ashburn.
“We are starting off hot, but we are putting in work,” Briar Woods head coach Ric Nickerson said. “These have been games where we’ve been behind. These have been games where we are grinding out runs.”
Briar Woods needed to grind out some runs if they wanted to stay in this game early on, as the Pride took a 7-2 lead halfway through the game.
The early lead was an all-around effort for Heritage, led by dominant pitching from senior Dylan Smith. Additionally, junior Alec Jones, senior Colin Shue, and sophomore Aaron Van Tuyle each had two RBIs.
The Briar Woods infield struggled with easy throws early on. Four costly errors resulted in missed opportunities which led to Heritage runners in scoring position. This forced junior pitcher Jackson Vincent into tough scenarios with less than two outs.
The Falcons were down big heading into the bottom of the fourth, but Nickerson’s message to his players was clear: “If we have outs left to play with, then the game is still going.”
The momentum started to shift when Briar Woods center fielder Connor Prezioso laid out to make a diving catch against the outfield wall. The extra effort shown by Prezioso, and later other fielders, boosted the morale and energy within the Falcons dugout.
With the shift in momentum, the Falcons began their rally with a three-run fourth inning followed by three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore Max Lawson and junior Hunter Dobson rose to the occasion in the closing innings, combining for four of the team’s ten total runs.
“If we are down a few runs, we don’t need to get them all back [in one inning],” Nickerson said. “We only need to get a couple back and everybody just stays hungry.”
With the Falcons up just one in the bottom of the sixth, Lawson had a clutch hit in the left center field gap that brought in two insurance runs for Briar Woods.
“He gave me a good pitch,” Lawson said. “I just hit it as hard as I could into the gap and scored some runs.”
Those insurance runs proved fruitful as Van Tuyle launched a massive solo home run to left center to start the seventh, however, sophomore reliever Gage Strucko struck out the side to fend off the Pride and earn the win.
The Pride will look to bounce back when they travel to Loudoun Valley on March 29 then Broad Run on March 31.
Briar Woods will look to make it four in a row before heading into spring break when they travel to Millbrook for a non-district matchup on March 29.
“This is a long season, every game will be a dogfight,” Nickerson said. “As long as we stay in it, as long as we refuse to be beaten, I think that makes us formidable.”