Home Fredericksburg Nationals drop 2023 home regular-season finale to Hillcats, 6-5

Fredericksburg Nationals drop 2023 home regular-season finale to Hillcats, 6-5

Chris Graham

fredericksburg nationals Lynchburg defeated Fredericksburg, 6-5, on Sunday, in the final regular-season home game of the 2023 season for the FredNats.

It was a hot start for the Hillcats, the Low-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, as CJ Kayfus smoked a two-run home run in the top of the first inning against Bryan Polanco, in his FredNat debut.

Pres Cavenaugh then blasted another homer in the top of the second, this one a solo shot to make it 3-0 Lynchburg. The Hillcats added two more runs in the fourth, on a wild pitch and an E4 to extend their edge to 5-0.

Yet as always this year, the Freddies, the Low-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, battled back. Max Romero Jr. worked a leadoff walk in the fourth, ahead of Elijah Green, who smoked a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 5-2.

The FredNat bullpen battled to keep the gap at just three runs, as Merrick Baldo, Anthony Arguelles, and Moises Diaz kept the Hillcats off the board through the top of the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the frame, Fredericksburg got a leadoff single from Leandro Emiliani followed by a double to quickly put two men in scoring position. Zach Jacobs then unleashed a wild pitch that Emiliani scored on, to make it just a 5-3 lead for Lynchburg.

Neither side scored in the eighth, and the Hillcats got a one-out walk in the top of the ninth from Luis Durango. He moved to second base on a sac bunt, then came in to score a crucial insurance run on an Angel Genao double.

Down 6-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, Tuda Thomas drew a leadoff walk. John McHenry followed with a booming double off the wall in center field, as Tuda flew around the bases to score from first. McHenry took third base on a sac fly later in the frame, and then a passed ball allowed John to score and trim the deficit to just 6-5.

But with the bases clear, Green struck out swinging to end the ballgame.

Zach Jacobs earned the win, Zane Morehouse got the save, and Bryan Polanco took the loss in his full-season debut.

Fredericksburg hits the road next week for the final regular season series of the year, against the Delmarva Shorebirds.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].