One thing was for certain following South County’s 16-6 Senior Night baseball win over visiting Lee on Tuesday night, May 10, the Stallions, with their festive fans all geared up for a victorious closing to the team’s home schedule, put on quite a show for their faithful.
South County connected on six home runs on the night, including a game-ending, bottom of the fifth inning grand slam by sophomore Keaton Tettelbach, which put South County 10 runs ahead to kick in the 10-run mercy rule.
Team members mobbed Tettelbach, a backup catcher, after he touched home plate following his trip around the bases. For the home team, it was the perfect ending to a pretty much perfect evening in which eight South County 12th graders were honored for their high school playing careers during pre-game ceremonies.
South County, the area high school coach’s No. 1 ranked team in the Northern Region, has plenty more baseball left this season. The Stallions, a remarkable 19-0, were scheduled to wrap up the regular season schedule on Thursday, May 12, with a 6:30 p.m. game at Patriot District opponent Annandale High. After that, the fun will really begin as the Stallions will see just how far they can gallop this postseason, beginning with the district tournament set to begin next week. South County, 13-0 in district play following the win over the Lancers, will be the top seed.
“We want to win the district, region and state [tournaments],” said South County senior shortstop Tyler Frazier, who had a career game with three home runs in the win over Lee. “If we keep playing our game, there’s no doubt in my mind we can do it.”
Frazier, whose older brother, Brent, was a standout shortstop at South County and is currently a collegiate ball player at Old Dominion University, hit home runs in each of his three trips to the plate from his No. 5 position in the batting order. The right handed batter, who is hitting .416 on the season, hit his homers over the center field, left field, and right field fences in a remarkable night. He was scheduled to bat for a fourth time, but teammate Tettelbach never allowed that to occur with his game-winning round tripper over the left center field fence.
In all, Frazier, who is set to be a college pitcher next school year at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, knocked in six runs on the night. He said he was uncertain his third and final homer, which came in the fourth inning, would clear the right field fence.
“I didn’t think the third one was going out,” said Frazier, whose previous two home runs came in the first and third innings. “I was just having fun tonight. It was Senior Night and there was no pressure.”
Frazier, who said he had never before in high school had a multi-home run game, now has six home runs on the season.
“I don’t usually go up looking for home runs,” said Frazier. “I hadn’t hit one in six games or so [before Tuesday]. Tonight, I let it fly a little.”
Frazier is a solid all-around player. When he is not playing his shortstop position on defense, he is on the mound as one of the Stallions’ top two starting pitchers — the other mound standout being senior Evan Beal.
“He picks up the ball well at shortstop and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said South County coach Mark Luther, who also coached Brent Frazier when he was playing for the Stallions. “On the mound he throws the ball where he wants to.”
IN ALL, SOUTH COUNTY smacked six homers on Tuesday, three by Frazier, the grand slam by Tettelbach and one apiece from junior first baseman Kyle Fairbanks, who followed Frazier’s third home run in the fourth inning with a solo shot over the left field fence, and senior DH Mike Egbert, who sent the first pitch of the bottom of the second inning over the left field fence.
Luther and his coaching staff stress hitting the ball solidly, not necessarily shooting for the fences.
“That’s our approach every night, trying to get the ball on the fat part of the bat,” he said. “Tyler generates a lot of bat speed.”
Other big games at the plate for South County came from leadoff hitter Andrew Rector (3 hits, including a double, 3 runs scored); Jake Josephs (RBI double); and standout senior catcher Mike Perez (2 doubles).
Lee played a good game through the first several innings. The Lancers scored a run in the first, four in the second, and one in the third and led 6-5 before South County scored two in its half of the third inning and five more in the fourth to take control of the game.
Tyler Smith, a senior second baseman for the Lancers, roped an RBI single into center field in the first inning. In the Lancers’ big four-run second inning, clean-up hitter Tyler Nelson sent an RBI double down the left field line. Earlier that inning, No. 8 hitter David Kopp had singled into left field and later scored from third base on a wild pitch, barely beating the tag at the plate.
Lee’s biggest hit of the night came from junior Bradley Hann, who led off the third inning with a home run over the left center field fence. Other good hitting games for the Lancers came from junior catcher Rob Sutton (single, 2 runs) and shortstop Jack Milewski (single, 1 run).
South County starting pitcher Luke Bondurant, a senior, got his first career pitching start and went three innings. Josephs, a left hander, earned the win in relief.
Lee coach Brett McColley liked the way his underdog team hit the ball in the loss.
“We were aggressive at the plate and swinging the bats early [in the game],” he said.
Of Hann’s home run, the coach said, “He was short to the baseball [on a compact swing] with the bat. He just looked relaxed up there.”
Lee starting pitcher Greg Zajic, a right-handed throwing sophomore and one of the Lancers’ top starters this season, took the loss in 3-1/3 innings of work.
“He’s a location guy and one of our top pitchers this year,” said McColley. “We’re kind of young on the mound.”
Lee was scheduled to have its Senior Night on Thursday of this week, May 12 against visiting Woodson.