By Tom Bone
For The Register-Herald
In a sectional tournament battle of freshman pitchers, the James Monroe Mavericks rallied behind Tyler Moore and advanced to the championship round of the Class AA Region 3, Section 3 tourney on Friday afternoon, beating Bluefield 2-1 at Bowen Field.
The game started earlier than scheduled due to a forecast of evening rain.
Moore limited the Beavers to six hits, and none in the middle three innings. James Monroe staked him to two runs in the first, which proved to be just enough.
James Monroe head coach John Mustain said, “He’s had some good games this year; he just hadn’t really gotten the defense behind him. Today, luckily, we got those runs early and held on. Defense was pretty good in that game.”
“He pitched well. He spotted his fast ball really well. His two-seam was breaking really well, and that helped him a lot. I was very happy with his performance. I was really worried about someone coming in after Caleb (Brown). And he did the job.”
In the James Monroe first, Micah Deskins got aboard and Ryan Page followed with a double to center field. E.T. Weiss temporarily took over for Page as a courtesy runner.
Bluefield committed a pair of errors to get in a bind. Cory Lilly’s drive to right field scored Deskins and Reed McNeer hit an RBI single to score Weiss with the second run.
Then the offenses for both teams started to dry up. Bluefield freshman pitcher Randy Maxey limited the Mavericks to five total hits.
Bluefield head coach Justin Gilbert said, “We had two errors there in the first, and that led to their two runs. But, you know, Randy Maxey did a great job. He allows them five hits, two runs over the course of six innings. You can’t ask any more of your starting pitcher. We just didn’t back it up at the plate today.”
Mustain said, “Maxey, he pitched a whale of a game, too. It was fun. Those kind of games are fun — good pitching, good defense. I’d much rather have a game like that ... than 14 to 15 (runs) or something like that. To me, that’s not really baseball.”
Bluefield was down to its last out in the seventh when freshman Jeremy Thompson got a ground-ball base hit, and Maxey drove him in with a single into left-center field, cutting the Mavericks’ lead to 2-1.
But Moore induced a swinging strikeout to end the game.
Maxey was the only Bluefield player with multiple hits.
The championship-round game between James Monroe and PikeView was suspended due to a downpour of rain in the top of the third inning with PikeView ahead 3-2. The game is scheduled to be resumed from that point at 4 p.m. today at PikeView High School in Gardner.
If James Monroe wins, a second championship game between the two teams will be necessary in the double-elimination format.
B 000 000 1 — 1 6 3
JM 200 000 x — 2 5 1
Randy Maxey and Logan Lineberry. Tyler Moore and Ryan Page. WP - Moore. LP - Maxey.