Southampton Academy wins VISAA title
Published 10:50 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Sunday afternoon’s Virginia Independent School Athletic Association state championship game culminated in a picture-perfect ending for Southampton Academy’s Andrew Lowe. The senior pitcher, who quarterbacked the Raiders to a state title in football, found himself once again with the ball in his hands and the game in the balance.
Southampton Academy was tied with Isle of Wight, 1-1, in the top of the third inning when the skies opened. Clearly struggling to maintain a grip on the wet baseball, Lowe allowed consecutive singles to place runners on the corners. But — after taking a deep breath — he wiped his brow and proceeded to strike out the side to escape unharmed.
It was the poise Lowe showed in that moment, Southampton Academy head coach Tim Nixon said, which ultimately helped the Raiders capture their second-consecutive state championship with a 3-1 win.
“I knew with him on the mound today that it was going to be a dogfight,” Nixon said. “They were going to have to beat him. They put together a couple hits off of him early on, but by the time that inning rolled around, he was only getting stronger.”
Lowe, who was named the Division III player of the year following the game, proceeded to strike out seven of the next 10 Chargers who stepped into the batter’s box.
“I’ve said all year that they’re the most athletic team in Division III,” Nixon said. “Man to man, they’re very athletic, and any day they could have busted out and had a big game.”
Isle of Wight looked as if it were about to mount a rally in the top of the seventh frame, but a spectacular play by third baseman Ian Mizelle turned what could have been a stand-up triple into an easy out. Mizelle, playing in as to take away the bunt, made a diving stop on a shot down the line, stood up and fired to first base to register the second out of the inning. Lowe then struck out the next batter to close out the game.
“We did it a little different this year because we were younger,” Nixon said. “These guys really trusted us [the coaching staff] and bought into what we were doing. There were some bumps in the road — we had a spell where we lost two in a row — but the guys really grew up at that point. They could have just said, ‘We’ll be a .500 team,’ but they didn’t. They wanted to come back here and win it again.”