Flucos' nucleus no strangers to big games

PALMYRA, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Tuesday marked a week since the Fluvanna County baseball team clinched its spot in the VHSL Class 3 state semifinals with a one-hit shutout at home against Abingdon.

The Flucos were supposed to face Brentsville District last Friday, with the winner advancing to last Saturday's state title game. But because of the rain that fell on Southwestern Virginia for much of the weekend those games were postponed to this Thursday and Friday at Kiwanis Field in Salem.

So on Tuesday afternoon, instead of enjoying the first week of their summer break, the Flucos were playing an intra-squad simulated game at Fluvanna County High School.

"Just super eager," Fluvanna senior infielder Ryan Groome said on Tuesday. "Trying not to think too much about what's coming up. Just super eager to go after it, and get the ring."

Groome's part of a nucleus that returned from the first-ever Fluvanna baseball team to reach the state final four, where the Flucos lost to Abingdon in last June's semifinals. But the group's success dates back to well before they first put on high school baseball uniforms.

As kids, seven players on the Flucos' current team played on Fluvanna Youth Baseball teams that won 8-and-under, 9-and-under and 10-and-under state championships in consecutive summers growing up.

"Knowing what we've done together through our past, and then we know we have a lot more to come in the future," said junior infielder/pitcher Cameron Shields. "It's just always been an expectation for this group of guys."

Fluvanna coach Joel Gray has watched that group of Flucos "get on each other and push each other to be the best they can be." He also says it's clear that they've grown up playing baseball together for the past decade.

"It's the little things," Gray said. "Our double plays in the middle, they've done it forever together. And you really don't have to coach them up at all. They've been together forever. The chemistry's there. They trust each other. That's the biggest thing. They trust each other, and you can tell."

"Whenever we step on the field, it's automatic," said Groome. "Where we've got to be, and how we like our throws. Where we all are looking. We all know what each other looks like, every single day. We just know each other. It's like we live together."