By Sports editor Brian Hoffman
The radar guns were out in force Tuesday as William Byrd senior Tyler Dean got his first start on the mound. Dean didn’t disappoint the many scouts on hand as he pitched five shutout innings of a 7-0 win.
What was all the fuss about? Dean has received a lot of attention after throwing in the high 90s during travel games last summer. He has committed to play for Virginia Tech but there’s an excellent chance he’ll be drafted in the Major League Baseball draft this summer, and the word was out that he would be starting against the Vikings on Tuesday.
“I’ve never seen so many radar guns,” said Byrd coach Neil Zimmerman. “When I got to the ballpark there were already a few scouts there, and when I came back from the fieldhouse there was about 15. By the time the game started I counted over 20.”
Tyler pitched five innings and allowed three hits, striking out seven. He walked three.
“He has one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen,” said Zimmerman. “I expect they were impressed.”
With a 7-0 lead Zimmerman shut Dean down and called on Hunter Sipe to pitch the sixth inning. Ross Divers took care of the seventh, both pitching scoreless frames. It was the third shutout in a row for Byrd and the fourth in five games as they improved to 4-1.
Offensively, Ethan Tinsley got the Terriers on the scoreboard with an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the second. The Northside leftfielder dove for the ball and missed it, and when it scooted past him Tinsley circled the bases.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an inside-the-park home run in our little ballpark,” said Zimmerman.
Isaac Fix also homered, but his shot cleared the fence in a five run fourth inning. Joey Johnson had an RBI double for the Terriers.
The win followed a doubleheader sweep of William Fleming at Walthall Park last Friday. Both games were shutouts against an overmatched Fleming nine as the Terriers won 19-0 and 8-0.
Tinsley pitched the first game and went all four innings played. He allowed two hits, walked none and fanned eight. Sipe had three hits and Trenton Sayers and James Purcell had two each.
Divers pitched the nightcap and picked up the win with four strikeouts in two innings. Sayers came on and fanned four more, qualifying for a save with three innings pitched while finishing the game. Hunter Harris and Sipe had two hits each and Sipe drove in four.
With the win and Lord Botetourt’s loss to Franklin County on Tuesday Byrd, Botetourt and Franklin all have just one loss in the district. Byrd will take on Blue Ridge foe Staunton River in Moneta Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 5:30 pm.
“I really don’t know what they have,” said Zimmerman. “After missing the season last year, anyone who is a senior was a sophomore the last time we had a high school season.”
Next Tuesday, May 25, the Terriers are back home for a big game against Franklin County. That will be a jayvee-varsity doubleheader, with the jayvees at 5 pm and the varsity to follow, under the lights. Byrd won the first meeting, 2-0 in Rocky Mount, and that’s the only game the Eagles have lost in eight outings.