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FLOYD –– A gloriously beautiful weekend gave way to a dreary, chilly Monday, but the nippy and overcast start to the new week provided something that was lacking under the warm blue skies of a day before.
They’re playing baseball again.
A young Galax took its time getting the bats going but finally strung together a rally in its final turn at bat, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh to overcome Floyd County for a 3-1 nondistrict win in the season opener for both schools.
“We had a freshman and sophomore pitching, we had a freshman lead us off in the top of the seventh, and another freshman that got one deep into centerfield to put us up by two runs, and that was big,” said first-year Galax coach Bobby Parnell, a freshman of sorts himself, after his first varsity win.
The Maroon Tide offense had managed to send just one batter more than the minimum to the plate through the first six innings, but the defending Division 1 state champs got it going in the top of the seventh, starting with a leadoff single from Stew Merdian. The freshman was soon standing on third following a wild pitch and an Alex Zipperach sacrifice bunt, and after a walk to Bryant Cox, Nick Davis came through with a game-tying single to right.
Another freshman, Caleb Spurlin, quickly broke the tie by lashing a two-run double to deep centerfield, scoring Cox and Davis for what would prove to be the final margin.
Logan Beamer wrapped up three innings of scoreless relief with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the seventh, thanks in no small part to a soaring catch by centerfielder Chandler Quesenberry to rob Floyd leadoff man Travis Cox of extra bases.
Merdian started on the mound and was on the hook to be the tough-luck loser, having given up one run on one hit through four innings before settling for a no-decision, thanks to the late rally. Beamer wound up the winner, allowing one single in three innings of work, striking out three and walking one.
“I definitely can’t complain about the pitching,” Parnell said. “They stayed down in the zone, hit their spots and threw strikes.”
Floyd County scored its only run in the bottom of the fourth as a leadoff walk came back to haunt Merdian when Brandon Gearhart ripped a sharp one-out RBI single, the Buffaloes’ first hit of the day, down the third base line.
Floyd would manage just one more hit on the day as Matt Bary greeted Beamer with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth. Bary advanced on a wild pitch before Beamer settled in a retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced.