FAIRFAX -- Tevin Tucker was standing at third base when Justin Starke struck out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tucker was still there when Jonathan Walton flied out to left. It was the third out of the inning, so Tucker put his head down and trotted back to the dugout, stranded 90 feet from home.
Prince George never got closer to scoring the rest of the game. The Royals fell 2-0 to Halifax on Friday in the state semifinals, falling victim to Halifax pitcher Andrew Abbott, who threw a two-hitter and struck out 11.
“That kid is legit,” Prince George coach Mickey Roberts said. “He’s the real deal.”
Drew Harlow scored both runs for Halifax (21-3). Each came on an RBI double by Josh Barker, the eighth hitter in Halifax’s lineup.
“They were great pitches to hit,” Barker said.
The first was a fastball he ripped down the left-field line. The second was a curve ball, and Barker slapped it down the right-field line.
Walton pitched six innings for Prince George (24-2). He gave up both runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks.
Abbott was electric. The senior lefty, who has signed with Virginia, mixed an upper-80s fastball with numerous curveballs and sliders. The Prince George hitters knew how to pounce on fastballs, Abbott figured. They had scored five runs or more in each of three region playoff games. So Abbott gave them a healthy dose of offspeed pitches.
In the fourth inning, Tevin Tucker hit a single off Abbott, Prince George’s first hit of the game. He stole second and third. But Starke struck out, Walton flied out, and Tucker was stranded there.
Prince George managed just one more runner on base the rest of the game.
“When a guy gets in scoring position, it really shows who you are,” Abbott said. “You got to bear down. When we got out of that jam, we were feeling pretty good.”
Prince George reached the state tournament for the first time in Roberts’ 34 seasons at the school. The Royals return most of their lineup for 2018.
“We finally broke the ice,” Roberts said. “Next year we have to want more.”