Albemarle picks up first round win in Legion state tourney

For the first time in weeks Albemarle Post 74 didn’t put up double digits on the score board, but that didn’t matter. Starting pitcher Dillon Via and his defense were on point. Together held Roanoke Post 3 to three runs and as an added bonus, kept Albemarle from having to bring in any other arms to get the job done. With some early offense, Via’s 9-strikeout complete game pushed Albemarle into the winners bracket with a 6-3 win in the first round of the Virginia American Legion state tournament.

“It was really hot out there and we just kept asking for another inning from Dillon and he kept giving them to us — it was amazing,” said Albemarle coach Mike Maynard. “The defense played great today too. Dillon only threw 107 pitches. He got five double plays. (Offensively) we didn’t play all that great so we’re real happy to get a win.”

Via picked up the bulk of his run support in the first inning thanks to a 4-run rally that included a leadoff double from Jordan Gentry, an RBI singles from Sean Rutherford, Logan Forloines and Danny Morris.

Roanoke gave Via his biggest fit in the second by loading the bases on two occasions and plating a trio of runs to cut Albemarle’s lead to a run.

Gentry put Post 74 up by two runs with an RBI groundout that scored Ryan Morris. After a double from Joey Varaksa, Kevin White provided one last piece of insurance with an RBI single.

Both Ryan Morris and Danny Morris went 4 for 4 on the day.

Albemarle now faces Greenbrier — the last team they faced in the state tournament last season in Danville. The two will play at Liberty University in Lynchburg on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Maynard said it will be a game time decision as to whether he starts David Spinosa or Chris Madison.

“I keep changing my mind, I’ve done it twice now,” Maynard said. “Either way we’ll be real happy if we can get seven innings out of whoever goes, put in Gentry and then throw the other (starter) the next game.”

Both Spinosa and Madison won their previous starts with Madison providing an opening round win in the District 13 tournament and Spinosa earning a win in the championship game three days later.