By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- Front Royal picked the perfect time to end its scoreless innings streak.
The Cardinals went 19 innings without scoring a run until the ninth inning of Wednesday's game against Waynesboro. An error with the bases loaded helped give the Cardinals a 2-1 win over the Generals.
"We struggled with at-bats all day getting guys on," Front Royal manager Jake Weghorst said. "The last three outs are the hardest to get in a baseball game. Our guys finally put some good at-bats together, stood their ground in the box and hit the ball hard. I wish we played like that every day and we would be tough to beat."
Front Royal entered the ninth inning with only five hits against Waynesboro starter Corey Armentrout. Front Royal's Brent Morris led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and Mike Tomlinson followed with a double to left field, which just missed being a home run.
"I just tried to put something in play," Tomlinson said. "Brent got on before me, so I just tried to get on base and get a rally going in the ninth inning."
Waynesboro's Joshua Thorne came on in relief of Armentrout, but things didn't go well for him. Thorne hit Jose Torralba with a pitch to load the bases, and then also hit Ben Carl with a pitch to tie the game at 1-1.
Waynesboro (14-15) then brought in Bryce Danielson to pitch. Front Royal's Garrett Flynn hit a grounder to first baseman Quinn Griffith, but his throw to home plate was off line allowing Morris to score the game-winning run. Flynn was mobbed by his teammates afterwards.
"I just wanted to hit something hard and put it in play to help my team win," Flynn said. "I forced them to make a tough play and he booted it and it went our way.
"I didn't even see it. I just heard everyone going crazy. I just turned around and threw my hands up. That was the first walk-off I've ever had in my career. It feels great and hopefully there will be more to come."
Front Royal (14-17) has been struggling at the plate all season, but the players believe things are about to turn around for them.
"I think we're starting to swing it a little bit better," Tomlinson said. "We just gotta keep grinding it out. It's not too late to just all start breaking out. We got plenty of games left to try and make a run at the playoffs here."
Front Royal had another strong performance from its pitchers. Front Royal starter Justin Anderson went five innings, giving up six hits and striking out four.
"Justin Anderson did very well," Weghorst said. "He battled. He gave us five quality innings, and only gave up one run. That's what we asked him to do -- give us a quality start, and he did."
The Generals only managed nine hits in the game. The Generals took the lead in the top of the second. Waynesboro's Anthony Jacomini singled to start the inning. One out later, Griffith singled.
A wild pitch by Anderson moved Griffith and Jacomini to second and third. After Anderson struck out Brian Beard, Roger Gonzalez's infield single gave Waynesboro a 1-0 lead.
Torralba had two hits to lead the Cardinals. Anthony Gonzalez also had a hit to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
The Cardinals are still right in the thick of the race for one of the playoff spots, and are in a tight battle for third right now.
"We're starting to join together and be more of a team, picking each other up," Tomlinson said. ""It should be exciting here down the homestretch."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org