Photo credits to Flying Flucos Sports Shots (Varsity Baseball Career Comparison 9th-12th grade)
PRESS RELEASE – June 26, 2019
PALMYRA – Fresh off a state title win, Fluvanna County’s Jacob Critzer can add another accolade to his growing list of honors. The recent graduate, who helped boost the Flucos to the program’s first state championship in baseball, was named the VHSL’s Class 3 State Player of the Year on Monday, June 17, 2019. The 16-10 victory over Tabb was Fluvanna’s first title win in any sport in nearly three decades.
Fluvanna’s Joel Gray earned Coach of the Year honors, while junior pitcher Andrew Ward was selected to the all-state first team.
First baseman Kevin Ward and third baseman Ryan Groome were named to the second team.
Critzer, a 5-9, 190-pounder, hit 10 home runs this season, including two in Fluvanna’s state playoff games. The catcher propelled the Flucos into the title game with a thrilling seventh-inning walk-off home run to give his team a win over Brentsville. He amassed 15 career home runs and was also named the Region C Player of the Year.
“After losing in the semifinals last year, coming in we knew we had to work as a team and that’s when we pulled together. It was pretty cool knowing we were the first team to win a state championship in baseball,” Critzer said. “After that last out of the championship game, we finally saw something come together that we’d been working for all season.”
Critzer was selected to play in the Virginia High School Coaches Association All Star baseball game on Monday, June 24 at James Madison University’s Veterans Memorial Park. He represented the Blue squad, while Gray served as one of the team’s coaches.
Of note, current Fluvanna assistant Ryan Foster earned a spot on the 2010 VHSCA baseball team as a shortstop.
His senior year, Critzer boasted a .471 batting average and finished with 40 hits and 35 RBI en route to leading Fluvanna to a 23-3 record and its first region and state crowns. He also posted a 1.556 on-base percentage and threw out 70 percent of the base runners who attempted to steal on him.
“Jacob is a true leader. He was our only captain for the past two years when we made historic playoff runs,” Gray said. “We will miss him in so many ways as we try to defend our championships next spring. Fluvanna baseball loves this kid and wishes him the best. In his absence, we will try to practice and play to the standards he helped set for this program.”
The four-year varsity starter was selected first team all-region and second team all-state in 2018.
Critzer is a great role model for the youth in his community. In his spare time, he plays for the Montezuma Braves, assistant coaches, umpires games, plays ball with the Fluvanna Youth Baseball teams, and does baseball lessons with the youth at The Baseball Company.
Critzer wants to thank all of his coaches for the guidance over the years. He extends a special thank you to his Invaders Coach, Nolan Shaffer, for developing him into the player that he is today. “Nolan was the best coach anyone could ask for, he’s been like a second dad to me,” Critzer said. He wishes the best to Charlie Critzer, Keen Dickerson, and all of his little buddies on the FYB Yankees team.
Critzer is headed to Lincoln Memorial University (Tennessee) to play baseball and earn his degree in Business Administration. The Railsplitters finished this past season 34-19, advancing to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.