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Posted June 15, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Royals topple Gators

By Jerry Holsworth -- sports@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester Royals began the season with a trend that was anything but promising. Falling behind early, the Royals would come back to take the lead, then be unable to hold it in the late innings.

On Sunday, however, thanks to timely hitting and a brilliant performance in relief by Corey Williams, the Royals staged a dramatic mid-game comeback, then held on to defeat Fauquier 9-6 in Valley League play at Bridgeforth Field.

"I think that the story of this game was Corey Williams," Royals manager John Lowery Jr. said. "He came into the game strong, and gave us a chance to win."

With Winchester trailing 5-2, Williams (1-1) came into the game in relief of starter Bryan Garcia to begin the fourth inning, and got the Gators out in order for three straight innings.

"I had command of all three of my pitches," Williams said. "My first appearance in relief was kind of iffy. After working with my pitching coach I think I've got everything working now."

The Vanderbilt freshman got the win for the Royals, allowing just one hit and one run through six innings on the mound. He struck out seven and walked three.

"Corey came in and looked great," said Winchester shortstop Steven Sabins, who finished just one single short of hitting for the cycle. "They really didn't have a chance the way he was pitching tonight."

While Williams was keeping the Gator bats in check, the Royals used the fourth and fifth innings to pull ahead. Timmy Cross, who had been 0-for-8 at the plate, got things started in the fourth with a leadoff single to right field. A ground out to third by Kevin Griffin sent Cross to second, and a two-run homer over the left field fence by Sabins narrowed Fauquier's lead to 5-4.

A single by Michael Vargas later in the inning drove home Matt Wehrmeyer to tie the score 5-5.

"I had a rough start at the plate this season," Cross said. "It was a real relief to finally get that first hit. Baseball is a game of confidence, and that really helped."

Sabins, who had a double and scored in the second, finished a superb night at the plate with a triple in the fifth.

"It was a good night," Sabins said. "It would have been nice to get the cycle, but it was even nicer to get the win."

After David Jones drove home Aaron Dudley with a single to right to begin the fifth, Cross stepped confidently to the plate and crushed a two-run homer over the left-field fence.

What looked like a great night at the plate for the Royals looked like something entirely different in the other dugout.

"They just hit the ball all over the place," Gators manager Paul Koch said. "They had 17 hits. We obviously didn't pitch very well. We just couldn't get it done on the mound. That's the story of this game. I told our guys before the game that we needed to get it done at the plate. I thought we did. Six runs should have been enough to win."

Fauquier starting pitcher Michael Patton took the loss, giving up seven runs on 11 hits through 4 1/3 innings on the mound. Winchester starter Bryan Garcia allowed five runs on seven hits through three innings.

"I think that we're definitely capable of pitching better as a team," Lowery said. "We need to challenge the hitters and rely on our defense. There's really no defense for walks. We showed some real progress in that department tonight."

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