With a 6-1 record, which included winning five straight games in the loser’s bracket and maintaining their cool in pressure situations, the Arlington Babe Ruth Storm 9-under baseball team won the recent state tournament in Waynesboro.
Arlington routed Stafford, 10-1, in its first tournament game, then lost its second to Gainesville-Haymarket, 12-11, to fall into the loser’s bracket.
From there, Arlington won five games in three days, defeating Northside, 11-1, Winchester, 16-4, Glen Allen, 10-7, then won the title by nipping Gainesville-Haymarket in consecutive one-run games, 4-3 and 9-8, in walk-off fashion.
In that July 9 final game, Arlington trailed 8-7 in the sixth inning, then scored two runs in the bottom of the frame to win. Harrison Netwall had the two-out, game-winning RBI single. Before that, Danny Sullivan had an RBI single to tie the game at 8. Clive Gay had the winning hit in the 4-3 victory, then got the win in relief on the mound in the 9-8 final.
“These players have a lot of resolve you rarely see in kids this age,” Arlington manager Jones Tallent said. “This is a good hitting team, so they don’t get down or discouraged if we fall behind by a few runs. We won five games in a row, so everyone had to play and contribute.”
Booker Lawson was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament for Arlington.
Lawson batted in the productive top portion of the lineup with leadoff hitter Gay along with Netwall, Sullivan and Liam Juza. Gay was 4 for 4 in the last game and Sullivan 3 or 4. Lawson, Juza and Netwall each had two hits.
On the mound, Lawson threw 12 innings in the tournament, striking out 18 and allowing five earned runs. Juza worked 12 2/3 frames, fanning six and giving up four earned runs. Sullivan threw four scoreless innings, striking out six in the 4-3 win against Gainesville-Haymarket.
Jones Tallent, Colt Monticello, Ryan Di Vincenzo and Michael Mastrangelo also pitched in the tournament.
Also contributing were Luca Feden, Tyler Moss, and Jacob Wolfsthal.
Arlington’s coaches are Adam Di Vincenzo, Neal Lawson and Chris Netwall.
Arlington now advances to the Southeast Regional Tournament in Stafford, beginning July 16. The region champion advances to the World Series starting Aug. 3 in Jensen Beach, Fla.
NOTES: Many of the same Arlington players (nine) won the 8-under state tournament last summer with a 4-0 record, rallying in each game. Booker Lawson, Talent and di Vincenzo have played in three straight state tournaments at different age levels . . . This season, Arlington has a 21-5 overall record, having won four tournaments.