Jason Maggs drove in the go ahead run and Wes Hall’s RBI single added an insurance run in the top of the tenth inning and the Gaston Braves held off Fuquay-Varina for an 8-7 win to open day three of the American Legion Baseball State Tournament in Cherryville.
With the win, the Braves kept their hopes alive to advance to Monday’s semifinal round, but will need some help. Gaston basically needs a Wilmington loss to secure a spot in Monday’s round, or for Wilmington to give up at least 15 runs in a win. The first tiebreaker in American Legion Baseball pool play is head-to-head, followed by runs allowed. Wilmington and Davidson County played later in the day on Sunday.
The Braves (22-10) continued to hit the ball well on Sunday, getting a leadoff triple in the third inning from Preston Conner and an RBI single by Jordan Lathe for an early 1-0 lead.
After Fuquay tied the game in the home half of the inning, gaston retook the lead in the top of the third inning on an RBI ground by Zach Summerville.
Jack Howell and Ty Cummings each drove in runs for Fuquay-Varina in the fourth inning to give Post 116 a 3-2 lead before the Braves answered yet again in the fifth with a two-run single from Jayson Szot that put Gaston Post 144/266 back on top.
The back and forth game continued with Fuquay again going back on top with a three-run sixth. Three straight singles by Lane Rhodes, Garrett McGraw and Josh White loaded the bases with no outs, and Zach Guyer’s sacrifice fly RBI made it 4-4. Two batters later, Wade Chandler’s two-run single gave Post 166 a 6-4 advantage.
The Braves were able to push the game to extra innings with a pair of runs in the seventh. Maggs singled and scored on Hall’s RBI double, and Hall came in for the sixth run on a sacrifice fly RBI from Dosi Jonas.
The score remained that way until Gaston scored a pair of runs in the top of the tenth and held on for the win.
Hall had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a double and 2 RBIs. Summerville, Szot and Maggs added two hits each for the Braves, who had 14 on the day.
White and Rhodes had three hits each to lead Fuquay-Varina, who had 14 hits of their own. Chandler and Ginn added two hits each for Post 116.
Jacob Landis gave up just two runs in five innings of relief for the win. Landis allowed four hits, while striking out three and walking none.
Fuquay-Varina (24-5) fell to 2-1 in pool play, but is still in great position to advance to Monday’s semifinals with just 12 runs allowed in three games.