The South Pointe Stallions have been making sure the fans get their money's worth throughout the 4A baseball playoffs. Why stop now?
The Stallions lost a 4-0 lead and fell behind 7-4, only to come back with yet another dramatic seventh-inning rally and defeat the North Augusta Yellow Jackets 8-7 on a wild pitch Wednesday night at South Pointe.
South Pointe had come from behind in the seventh inning last week in back-to-back games of a doubleheader at Aiken and also in their game at Greenville to keep their dream for a first baseball state title alive.
"All these guys believed in themselves from day one," South Pointe coach Joel Taylor said. "They're high-faith guys as far as following Christ, and we play as one unit more than any team I've ever had."
The Stallions will travel to A.C. Flora on Saturday to begin a best-of-three series for the 4A state championship. The Northwestern Trojans, who had just defeated Boiling Springs 4-2 across town to advance to the 5A state championship, came to cheer on and congratulate the Stallions from beyond the left-field fence and the Stallions ran out to thank them and return the favor after the game.
"Those guys have played together and against each other for many, many years," Taylor said. "For them to come see us and root us on was very classy."
Spencer Bala started both the sixth and seventh-inning rallies that each resulted in two runs. He doubled to lead off the sixth and had a two-out base hit in the seventh.
"The last 10, 12 games he's just absolutely been killing the ball," Taylor said.
Dez Good's grounder with two on in the seventh hit the lip of the grass and stayed down, squirting under the glove of the shortstop and scoring the tying run.
North Augusta pitchers walked six batters and hit two more, with both of those coming in the last two South Pointe at-bats. The first four Stallions to walk all scored. South Pointe pitchers hit four batters in the two innings that the Yellow Jackets scored.
North Augusta scored six runs in the fifth inning with two outs, three of which were unearned. They batted around in the inning. Prior to the fifth, they had three baserunners and only one hit.
With two outs in the fifth and runners at the corners, shortstop Daniel Lipe bobbled a ground ball and could not get the out at second in time, allowing a fourth run to score and tie the game. Alex Hart followed with a double to the gap in right-centerfield that scored two more and put North Augusta on top for the first time, 6-4.
Bala was 4-for-4 with 3 RBI and only a home run away from hitting for the cycle. He started the two-out rally in the seventh with his smash base hit off the third baseman's glove into left field. Karrington Sullivan was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI for the Yellow Jackets.
South Pointe 8 North Augusta 7
Trey Prince and D.J. Hartline. Britt Thomas and Carson Cockrell. WP - Hartline. LP - Cockrell. Leading hitters: SP - Spencer Bala 4-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI; Dez Good 1-3, BB, RBI. NA - Karrington Sullivan 2-4, 2 RBI; Alex Hart 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBI; Logan Jeffcoat 2 BB, HBP.