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Devils battle into driver’s seat

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 INDEPENDENCE -- Grayson County’s second one-run win over Fort Chiswell this season didn’t have a lot in common with the first one. Other than one similarity, that is.

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“They were both wars,” said Grayson County coach Mike Worrell after his Blue Devils rallied from four runs down to defeat the Pioneers 7-6 Tuesday at the GNB Baseball Complex.

Grayson and Fort Chiswell had combined for a total of one run and three hits a couple of weeks ago, but the bats took over in Round 2 as the Pioneers jumped out to – and then surrendered – a 4-0 lead.

“Good things happened to us in both games, and I’d like to think that we had a lot to do with it,” Worrell said. “We didn’t give up, and when we got a break, we were able to take advantage of it.”

Two errors led to two Blue Devil runs in the third inning, including one on a Willie DeBord RBI single, cutting Fort Chiswell’s 4-0 lead in half. Grayson County took the lead for good in the fifth, scoring three times with two out. With Jared Salts on first via a walk, Brent Graham snuck a dying line drive under the glove of diving rightfielder Parker Mabe, putting runners at the corners. Richard Pugh drew a bases-filling walk, chasing Fort starter Blake Musick, and Zack Hill greeted reliever Mike Dunford with a two-run single to left, bringing the Devils even at 4-4. Ben Osborne followed with another bloop that evaded a diving rightfielder, knocking in Pugh with the go-ahead run.

Jessup Lambert walked and Cody Underwood doubled to left to lead off the home sixth, with Ethan Hash’s single driving in Lambert. Jared Salts then beat out a check-swing dribbler between first and the mound to plate Underwood for a 7-4 lead.

The excuse-me RBI single would come in handy a few minutes later. Jared Sells, who had come on in relief for Grayson in the third, beaned two Pioneers with the first two pitches he threw in the top of the seventh. Sells caught Mark Gallimore looking at strike three for the first out but a Musick single and a fielder’s choice brought both runners home, trimming the gap to 7-6 before Cody Poole grounded back to the mound to end the rally.

Lambert started on the mound for Grayson County having allowed six hits and no runs in his last 21 innings against the Pioneers, but Fort Chiswell was on the Devil senior Tuesday. Poole singled on the game’s first pitch, scoring on a Tyler Akers ground-out.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bags for Mabe in the second, and Mabe delivered a two-run single for a 3-0 Pioneer lead. Two walks and a Gallimore RBI single ended Lambert’s day with two down in the third. Sells came in and provided 4 1/3 strong innings of relief to earn the win, allowing the two runs on three hits, striking out five and walking one.

“Jessup’s had their number the last two years,” Worrell said, “and today was the day the finally got to him. Sells has matured a whole lot since last year and he handles the pressure situations a lot better than he has.”

Sells kept the Pioneers offstride with a steady mix of breaking pitches, which added effectiveness to his fastball.

“He’s one of the few pitchers we’ve had who can consistently throw four pitches for strikes,” said Worrell. “[Assistant] coach [David] Meredith said he likes calling pitches for him, because you can’t make a mistake.”

Sells did get some help in the field. Ben Osborne chased down two deep Pioneer drives, making running catches near the centerfield fence, and first baseman Underwood saved a run – and most likely extra innings – by bare-handedly knocking down a wicked hop on a low throw in the top of the seventh.

 

Fort Chiswell                                                    Grayson County

         ab        r           h          bi                                 ab        r           h          bi

Poole lf             5          1          1          0          Rutherfrd 3b      3          1          0          0

Viars 2b             3          0          0          0          Lambert ss        2          1          0          0

White ss             4          0          1          0          CUndrwd 1b      4          2          1          0

Akers 3b             3          1          0          1             Bowen pr       0          0          0          0

JUndrwd c          2          2          0          0          DeBord dh         2          0          2          0

Gallimore p       4          1          3          1             Whitt 3b         0          0          0          0 Musick 1b          2          0          1          1             Sells p            0          0          0          0 Dunford cf         4          0          1          0             Hash dh          1          0          0          1

Mabe rf             3          0          1          2          Salts 2b              3          1          1          1

                                                                           Blizzard ph       1          0          0          0

                                                                        Graham c            4          1          1          0

                                                                        Pugh rf                 2          1          0          0

                                                                        Hill lf                    2          0          1          2

                                                                        Osborne cf           4          0          1          1

Totals               30        6          8          5                                    28        7          7          6   Fort Chiswell                121      000      2––6    8          3 Grayson County           002      032      x––7    7          2  

E – Poole, Viars 2, Lambert 2. DP – Grayson County 1 (6-4-3). 2B – C.Underwood. SB – Poole, Lambert, J.Underwood, White, Mabe, Graham, Dunford. LOB – Fort Chiswell 10, Grayson County 11.

  Fort Chiswell      ip         r           er         h          k          bb Musick (L)          4.2       5          3          3          6          6 Dunford             0.1       2          2          2          0          1 Gallimore          1.0       0          0          1          1          1 Grayson County Lambert            2.2       4          4          5          2          3 Sells (W)           4.1       2          2          3          5          1  

Wp – Lambert 3, Musick. Hbp – (by Lambert) Viars; (by Sells) Akers, J.Underwood.