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West End 13s beat Virginia state champs in pool play to move to 1-1 at Series

GLEN ALLEN, Va. — West End’s 13-year-old Babe Ruth all-star rebounded from Friday’s opening loss to rally to beat Manassas, Virginia — the Virginia state champions — on Saturday at Glen Allen, Virginia, 3-2, to improve to 1-1 in pool play.

West End plays again Sunday against Oregon at 1 p.m. before having an off day Monday. West End then plays again on Tuesday against the Southeast Regional champions of Winchester, Virginia.

West End rallied in the sixth inning with two outs. After trailing 2-1, West End loaded the bases. Briar Persing managed to steal home after an attempted pickoff attempt to tie the game, 2-2. Zion Hughes then came up clutch with an RBI single down the left-field line to put West End ahead, 3-2.

It was West End’s first lead since it took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Offensively, West End collected 10 hits and was able to put the ball in play when needed. Nate Crowe went 2 for 2, and Persing (2 for 3, RBI, run) and Trey Domschroder (2 for 4, run) each had two hits apiece. LJ Hill, Zack Neil and Noah Kirby all had hits, as Neil hit a double.

“We couldn’t get the big hit when we need it, like bases loaded and they got out of that. Even in last inning that happened, but at least putting the ball in play a lot more,” West End manager Marc Hess said. “Too many pop outs in key situations. But other than that, we had 10 hits and I’d have to go back and look to know if we even had any extra base hits.”

Neil and Hill combined on the mound. Neil started and went 3 1/3 innings before Hill relieved him, going 3 2/3 innings. The duo combined to limit Virginia to five hits and issued just two walks combined.

“Our pitchers threw a lot better, a lot more strikes. I think we actually threw Zack 43 pitches in 3 1/3 innings and LJ threw 45 pitches. So when you think about it, yesterday we threw way too many pitches and today, basically back to normal,” Hess said. “Our pitchers threw well and good enough to keep us in the game.”

Virginia claimed the lead in the bottom of the second inning with two runs to go ahead, 2-1. The two teams then had three consecutive scoreless innings before West End’s huge two-run sixth inning. West End then held Virginia scoreless in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings.

The win Saturday was big for West End in terms of keeping the team positive and motivated. More importantly, it kept West End from dropping to 0-2 and at 1-1, West End is in great position to advance to the single elimination portion of the tournament later in the week.

“It was huge because now we’re heading in right direction. We still have two more pool play games and can still get through to single elimination,” Hess said. “But it was huge to pull off the first win. It got monkey off their backs.”

West End 3, Manassas, Va. 2

West End 100 002 0 – 3 10 2

Virginia 020 000 0 – 2 5 0

Z. Neil, LJ Hill (4) and L. Miller. (Virginia pitchers and catchers not available). W: Hill.

Top West End hitters: B. Persing 2-3, RBI, run, BB; T. Domschroder 2-4, RBI; N. Crowe 2-2; Z. Neil 1-2, 2B, BB; L. Hill 1-3.

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