Statesmen win title, advance in region

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, June 2, 2016

After winning its second Courthouse Conference 37 Tournament title in three years on Friday, the Randolph-Henry High School varsity baseball team defeated visiting Floyd County High School 5-0 on Monday in the Region 2A West Tournament quarterfinals.

The Statesmen (20-2) will play Grayson County High School in the regional semifinals 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Tazewell Sports Complex.

Randolph-Henry Head Coach J.R. Allen, Courthouse Conference 37 Baseball Coach of the Year, said he saw what he expected from his team on Monday.

“We got a good pitching performance, got some timely hitting and we played solid defense,” he said.

Senior Cameron Vassar, the conference baseball Player of the Year, threw a no-hitter against Floyd County, a performance which included 15 strikeouts.

“He’s just overpowering,” Allen said. “They hadn’t seen a fastball like that, that hard. He threw it by them quite a bit.”

The Statesmen ended up with seven hits. Two came from Vassar, two from senior Joseph Reed and two from junior Joshua Jones.

Reed hit a two-RBI single to shallow right field in the second inning.

“He’s a true athlete,” Allen said of Reed. “He’s the spark plug of our team. He’s the leadoff. He gets us going, and we just feed off of him.”

Jones scored on a passed ball in the third. In the sixth, sophomore Carter Strickland hit a ground ball to the Buffaloes second baseman, who committed an error, allowing Reed to score.

Later, Strickland stole second and scored when Jones hit a double to centerfield.

With a win Wednesday, the Statesmen hope to advance to the regional championship game, in which they last made an appearance two years ago when they lost to Virginia High School.

On Friday, Randolph-Henry defeated visiting Dan River High School 5-3 to claim the conference tournament championship.

“It’s a big win,” Allen said. “Dan River’s a great club. This being our last year in the conference, it just feels good to go out on top.”

In the first inning, Reed got on base after being hit by a pitch. Later, Jones drove Reed in for a run, and Strickland scored on a passed ball.

Reed helped his team double its lead by hitting a two-run home run in the second inning, and senior Grayson Crawford drove in the Statesmen’s fifth run.

“That’s one of our goals is to win that championship,” Reed said. “We love baseball around here, so it’s not only big for me, it’s big for all the fans and all the family in Charlotte County.”

The Wildcats out-hit the Statesmen 9-6 but could not translate more hits into more runs.

Junior Raleigh Duffer got the win on the mound to improve to 6-0 on the season.

He pitched four innings, throwing four strikeouts and allowing eight hits and two earned runs. Jones pitched the final three innings and threw five strikeouts.

“I just wanted to get our seniors one last home game,” Jones said.

“We came into the season expecting to do big things, so just trying to live up to it.”