The William Byrd baseball team has climbed back to .500 after a rough start. The Terriers defeated Northside at home, 1-0, on Tuesday to even their record at 8-8.
Byrd started the season with four straight losses, playing freshmen and sophomores at over half the positions. They were 3-7 at one point but have won five of their past six and are looking better every game.
One of the few seniors, Josh Hilliard, has come up big for the Terriers on the mound. He picked up wins over two district opponents in the past week, allowing just one run in 12 innings of work to even his personal record at 3-3.
Last Thursday in Vinton the Terriers took a 2-1 win over Lord Botetourt to split the season series with the Cavaliers. Hilliard went six innings, scattering seven hits and walking none. Tyler Dean pitched a one-two-three seventh inning for the save, fanning two.
Both Byrd runs came in the bottom of the second. Trailing 1-0, Dylan Hatfield singled and moved to second when Bryce Mullen reached on an error while he sacrifice bunted. Isaac Fix then bunted the runners over and Caleb Hutchens drove in a run with a single to tie the game. Ethan Spraker then got the winning RBI on a fielders’ choice grounder to short.
On Friday the Terriers played at Northside and dropped an 8-7 decision. Errors hurt the Terriers but they were able to hang in until the final out. Hunter Meador and Jacob Johnson had three hits each while Fix and Luke Taylor split time on the mound.
On Tuesday at home the same two laced them up again and this time Byrd came out on top in Vinton, 1-0, as Hilliard needed just 60 pitches to get through six innings. Dean pitched the seventh and worked out of a first and third jam, ending the game on a strikeout for his third save of the season.
“He’s become our closer,” said Zimmerman. “He throws hard and he’s done a good job late in the games. We had him warmed up on Friday in case we came back and tied or took the lead.”
The only run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth when Meador and Johnson stroked back-to-back doubles. Both had two hits in the game.
With the win Byrd is now 4-2 in the Blue Ridge District and in a four-way tie for first place. Byrd, Northside, Lord Botetourt and Staunton River all have two losses, and Byrd holds a win over all three rivals.
The Terriers will be back in action for two home games this weekend. On Friday Franklin County is here and on Saturday Hidden Valley visits for a jayvee-varsity doubleheader, with the jayvees at 10 am and the varsity to follow at approximately 12:30 pm.
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