Culpeper Advances to Conference Semifinals

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Leesburg-First-year school Riverside also got to host its first playoff game on a perfect Friday evening in north Loudoun County. Riverside came into the game with a 12-7 record, locking up the fourth seed entering the Conference 28 tournament. Fifth-seeded Culpeper tabbed freshman Jake Dudley for the start and Riverside went with junior Trey Campbell to start the game.

Culpeper loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with a pair of singles from Dudley and Matt Shuck and a walk. Campbell was able to get out of the inning without any damage. Dudley allowed a pair of two out baserunners in the bottom of the first, including a single by Campbell, but Riverside couldn’t push across a run. For velocities and scouting information on Dudley and Campbell, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog later this weekend.

In the top of the second, senior Tyler Short drew a two out walk, and scored the first run of the game when Hunter Elliot blasted a double to deep left center. A good relay caught Elliot at third, but Culpeper took a 1-0 lead. Dudley responded with a perfect bottom of the second and the Culpeper led through 2.

Campbell had a quiet third and Riverside got the bats warmed up in the bottom of the third as freshman second baseman Devin Weinstein dropped a double down the leftfield line to lead the inning off. After a wild pitch and a ground out, Weintstein scored on shortstop Carson Swank’s squeeze bunt, tying the game as it moved to the fourth inning.

The Blue Devils started the top of the fourth with a Will Dietz single and a double by Hunter Crim, putting two in scoring position with no outs. Campbell got a groundout and a strikeout without allowing a run. Before he could get out of the inning, Short legged out an infield single to short, driving in one and giving Culpeper the lead back. Elliot singled to left, picking up his second RBI and extending the lead to 3-1. Dudley came up next and hammered a ball through the infield, making the lead 4-1 and chasing Campbell from the game. Riverside went to sophomore Wes Glass, who got a strikeout to end the inning.

Riverside got a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth, but after a double play the Rams were unable to answer. Culpeper got the offense going again in the top of fifth, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice with one out. Glass was able to get a grounder to third and the Rams got the force out at home, which was followed by a pop out to end the inning with no runs scored.

In the bottom of the fifth, Riverside got a pair of base hits, but hit sandwiched them around a double play, and Dudley put up another zero. Glass settled into the top of the sixth inning, going three-up, three-down.

Culpeper added two more runs in the top of the seventh after a leadoff walk and single scored on an error and a wild pitch, taking a 6-1 lead into the last half of the seventh. The Rams were able to put two runners on with two outs and Weinstein kept the inning going with his third hit of the game, driving in a run to cut the deficit to 6-2. Freshman Sajon Belser ripped a double down the leftfield line, scoring two more to cut the lead to 6-4. Carson Swank chopped a single through the middle of the infield to put the tying run on base. Dudley was finally able to end the game as he got Campbell to fly out to deep center.

For Riverside, Campbell took the loss, going 3 2/3 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 3 BB, and 3 K. He was also 1-4 at the plate. Glass went 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 K. Belser was 1-4 with a 2B and 2 RBI. Swank went 1-3 with an RBI. Nick Connolly went 2-3. Weinstein was 3-3, with a 2B, 2 R, and an RBI.

For Culpeper, Dudley earned the win with a CG, 4 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K while also going 2-4 at the plate. Elliot was 2-4 with a 2B and 2 RBI. Dietz went 2-2 with a BB and 2 R. Crim was 1-3 with a 2B, a BB, and a R. Short was 1-3 with a BB, 2 R, and an RBI. Culpeper advances to the Conference 28 semifinals on Tuesday, where they will take on William Monroe.

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