Fauquier Rallies to Beat Rival Kettle Run


John Nolan
Virginia Scouting Director & Managing Editor

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A perfect Friday night for baseball saw Warrenton rivals take the field as Kettle Run traveled to Fauquier for a District matchup. Kettle Run would use a big inning early to jump out to a lead, only to see Fauquier rally to come back and win in a walk-off, 7-6.

Fauquier started the game with senior lefty Carson McCusker (Roanoke) on the mound and Kettle Run countered with junior righty Joe Vogatsky (James Madison). Kettle Run got things started quickly in the top of the first when Bryce McKenna singled and then stole second base. Zach Ewald (CNU) dropped a flare in behind first for a base hit and McKenna scored, giving Kettle Run a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Vogatsky struck out the first two hitters, but McCusker was able to beat out an infield single and then advance to second on a wild pitch. Harrison Whitt drove McCusker in with a double to right-center to tie the game at 1.

Kettle Run opened up a big lead in the top of the third when Caden DeCroo (Indiana Univ-PA) reached on a one-out single and McKenna drew a walk to put two on base. Vogatsky singled to left-center and drove in a run. Ewald followed with an RBI single to left to make the score 3-1. An RBI groundout and an error allowed the Cougars to push four runs across and take a 5-1 lead.

Vogatsky was on cruise control in the first four innings, allowing that run in the first, but striking out ten in four innings while Kettle Run built a lead. McCusker began to tire in the top of the fifth and lost the strike zone, walking four batters and allowing the Cougars to extend their lead to 6-1.

The Falcons began to scratch back at their deficit in the bottom of the fifth when Clay Goff reached on a one out single and then scored on a McCusker two-out RBI double. Whitt drove in McCusker with his third hit of the game to cut the Fauquier deficit to 6-3 after five innings complete.

Dennis Minter entered the game to pitch for Fauquier in the top of the sixth, and he was able to work around two baserunners to put up a scoreless inning. Ewald relieved Vogatsky in the sixth for Kettle Run, and the Falcons cut another run off of their deficit when a one-out walk came around to score on an error. The game headed to the seventh, with Kettle Run clinging to a 6-4 lead.

Minter worked around a leadoff double and a walk to put up another zero in the top of the seventh, and the game headed to the bottom half of the inning with the Cougars still leading, 6-4, and the heart of the Fauquier order coming up.

McCusker opened the seventh by drawing a walk and Whitt delivered his fourth hit of the night to put the tying run on base against Ewald. Nate Dulevitz singled to left-center, driving in McCusker to cut the deficit to 6-5 and putting the tying run on third base with no outs. Ewald got a strikeout and Dulevitz took second base during the at-bat. Drew Howser got a safety squeeze down and Whitt scored the tying run with Howser reaching safely. An intentional walk loaded the bases, bringing up freshman catcher Greyson Kramer, who worked the count full, and then drew a walk-off walk to end the game and give Fauquier the come-from-behind 7-6 win.

For Fauquier, Minter was the winning pitcher with 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K. McCusker went 5 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 5 BB, 5 K and also went 2-3 with a 2B, a BB, a SB, and an RBI. Whitt was 4-4 with a 2B and 2 RBIs. Bobby Slater was 0-1 with 3 BBs. 

For Kettle Run, Vogatsky went 5 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 11 K while also going 1-3 with a BB and an RBI. Ewald was 3-4 with 2 RBIs at the plate and took the loss with 1.2 IP, 4 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K.