Dateline: Fox Mill 1
The Reston Royals came into Fox Mill 1 after a long break following their game on Monday. Eric again turned in a masterful performance on the mound. After a leadoff single and a walk he struck out three batters. In the bottom of the first, Eric walked but was caught stealing second by a step. With two outs Alec walked, Nihal was hit on the arm by a pitch, Cam walked to load the bases, but the Braves made a big play on a groundout to first. After one it was 0-0.
Eric was dominant in the second with three quick strikeouts (only 10 pitches!). The Royals jumped out to grab the lead with a leadoff walk to Spensor, Nick walked and Jordan hit the first pitch he saw right back to the mound. The Braves fired to third but the third baseman had no idea the ball was coming to third and suddenly the bases were loaded with noouts. With one out, Matt grounded into a fielders choice as the Braves threw home to get Spensor by a step. With two outs, Alec came up (as he so often does with key two out hits) with a huge double to left to score Nick and Jordyn. After two it was Royals 2 Braves 0.
Eric made the third look like the second with three more quick strikeouts. This time it took twelve pitches. This closed the book on Eric with nine strikeouts, one walk, and one hit and no earned runs. The Royals made great contact in the third as Justin hit a high fly to short and Spensor smashed a shot to second but the Braves made some good plays and no runs scored. After three it was still 2-0 Royals.
Matt came on in the fourth and threw some great strikes. After a single, walk, wild pitch and a double scored a run. Two more singles resulted in two more runs. Matt settled down and struck out the next two and the last batter hit a sharp grounder to Nihal at second who flipped to Spensor at first for out three. With two outs in the fourth, the Royals still came up with a run. Eric singled moved to second on a wild pitch. Matt dropped down a perfect bunt that the Braves threw past first and Eric scored all the way from second. Matt was out at second on the next pitch as he tried to steal but the Braves made a perfect throw and got him by a step. After four it was tied at three a piece.
Matt looked great in the fifth as he got the first batter to pop out to Jordyn at second for out one. After a strikeout, the next batter hit a tough grounder between the first baseline and the pitcher. Matt raced over grabbed the ball and touched first for out three. In the bottom of the fifth drilled a long double to center. Cam was hit by a pitch. Justin hit a hard shot to short but the Braves tossed to third to get Nihal by a step. Spensor came up with a big, two out RBI single to score Cam. After five it was Royals 4 Braves 3.
Alec came on in the sixth and looked sharp. With a 2-1 count he threw a hard strike that the batter barely hit to right. Spensor charged and made a great catch for out one. Royals fans cheered as the team was two outs a way from a thrilling victory. As with many baseball games, the last couple of outs proved hard to get. A walk, an infield error, a single, a double, another error and single resulted in five runs for the Braves. Alec threw lots of good strikes throughout the inning and he picked up two more strikeouts to end the inning. Suddenly down 8-4, the Royals battled back in the bottom of the sixth. Jordyn led off with a hard shot to center for a clean single. After two ground outs. Alec blasted a long triple to right for his second extra base hit on the day. Unfortunately, the Braves pitcher settled down and got a strikeout to end the game Braves 8 Royals 5.
Coach Grossman said, “We played a pretty solid game for 5 1/3 innings. Sometimes you have a tough time getting those last couple of outs and I have to compliment the Braves. They are an excellent team and they battled back, played hard and found a way to come away with this one. I am extremely happy with how hard out guys played and I saw a LOT of progress at the plate. All our guys put a lot of balls in play and that puts enormous pressure on the defense. Our pitchers threw a ton of strikes and I really liked what I saw of Matt and Justin behind the plate. Justin caught a foul tip for strike three at a key time and that play absolutely kept things rolling for us. Matt blocked a ton of balls and did a great job. We’ll be ready for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.”