Maybe it was the deep dimensions at Madison High School, but the South County baseball team didn’t put on its usual power display during batting practice prior to the Northern Region championship game against Lake Braddock on June 3.
Instead, the Stallions saved their home runs for a game-changing fourth inning.
South County overcame an early deficit with a six-run fourth inning and captured the region title with a 9-5 win against Lake Braddock, the fourth time the Stallions defeated the Bruins this season. Trailing 4-2, senior Luke Bondurant hit an 0-2 pitch over the center field fence for a grand slam. Two batters later, senior Tyler Frazier hit a two-run, opposite-field homer to right-center, giving the Stallions an 8-4 advantage.
"It’s funny because at our field, whenever we take [batting practice], we’re always hitting balls out left and right," Frazier said. "Today, we didn’t hit a single ball out in BP. Our coach just told us, because their guys were throwing outside, he just said stay back, wait on it, drive it the other way, so that was my approach the whole night."
Lake Braddock had early leads of 2-0 and 4-1, but Bondurant’s grand slam shifted momentum.
"I haven’t been performing well in the playoffs so far. I’ve been slumping a little bit," Bondurant said. "I got down [0-2], I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball, I got hold of it a little bit. … We all got amped. You could tell, right after that, everybody was up like they usually are during the season."
Frazier and Bondurant each finished with three hits and Mike Perez had two. Andrew Rector, Blake Thompson, Alex Carrington and Mike Egbert each had one.
"I think I’ve said it before: we eventually figure you out," South County head coach Mark Luther said. "You’re not going to get [our lineup] for seven innings. If you do, we tip our hat to you."
Senior pitcher Evan Beal earned the victory for South County.
"We don’t really know how to lose," Frazier said. "We’re so resilient. We’ve been down a number of games to good teams just like [Lake] Braddock, but we always come back and we just find a way to win. It’s what we do."
— Jon Roetman