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GLADE SPRING –– It took a year, but Galax finally figured out what was an insurmountable lead when playing Holston – eight runs, not seven.
Galax bolted to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, took a 10-2 lead into the seventh and held it this time around, blowing past Holston in the Region C Division 1 championship game at Patrick Henry High School. The win brings with it a home game in the first round of the Division 1 state tournament Tuesday, either against Clintwood or Castlewood. Those two met Sunday for the Region D title.
Coughing up a 9-2 lead and the win in the seventh inning, Galax fell apart all at once in last year’s region meeting. Holston fell apart a little at a time Friday, all game long. The Cavaliers committed eight errors leading to seven earned runs. As was the case in Galax’s semifinal win a day before, a two-out error in the first inning allowed the Maroon Tide (12-9) to jump out to a big early lead.
With two outs and nobody on base, an infield single, a hit batter and a booted grounder loaded the bases for Galax, which capitalized with back-to-back two-run singles from Travis Garvey and Trevor Quesenberry.
Galax couldn’t take advantage of a single and two Holston errors in the second, but the Maroon Tide tacked on two more runs in the third. Bryant Cox slapped an RBI single to right, picked up two bases on pitches to the screen and scored on an errant throw on a grounder to second.
Singles by Eddie Hanks and Travis Cockerham followed by a two-run base hit down the third base line by Jon Alouf started the fourth inning and ended the day for Cavalier starting pitcher T.J. Widener. Reliever Conrad Thacker uncorked a wild pitch to score Alouf for a 9-0 Galax lead after four innings.
Holston finally got on the board in the top of the fifth, using two walks to set up an RBI single by Aaron Deel. Tide starter Austin Pack left the mound following the Deel base hit, giving up the one run on three hits in 42/3 innings of work.
Holston managed one unearned run off reliever Hanks, who fanned four and allowed three hits in 21/3 innings.
Eight different Maroon Tide batters had at least one hit each, led by 2-for-4 efforts from Cockerham and Garvey.