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Galax rally comes up short

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The Tide trailed by eight runs before its first at-bat but managed to make a game of it.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

If the first week of the baseball season has demonstrated anything, it is that a young Galax squad won’t quit when behind. It has also demonstrated that overcoming an eight-run deficit is a little too much to expect.

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But not by much.

Galax spotted Pulaski an 8-0 lead in the top of the first inning but battled back and eventually got the potential go-ahead run to the batter’s box, only to come up short in a 10-8 nondistrict loss Friday at Felts Park.

Galax trailed 9-3 entering the bottom half of the fifth inning before making things interesting, starting with a three-run fifth. A walk to Alex Zipprich and back-to-back doubles from Bryant Cox and Nick Davis opened the inning, and Caleb Pack later poked a two-out single to right, driving in Davis for a 9-6 score.

“We preach to them every day, just put the ball in play, and wherever it goes, we’ll go from there,” Galax coach Bobby Parnell said.

Following a 1-2-3 Pulaski sixth, Galax drew to within a run in its half of the inning. Chandler Quesenberry and Stew Merdian led things off with consecutive doubles and Zipprich plated Merdian with a sharp single to left, still with none out.

The Maroon Tide eventually had runners on the corners with one out but was unable to push the tying run across.

Pulaski County (1-0) made Galax’s task much more difficult in the top of the seventh when two walks set up Tyler Blevins, whose two-out double to center drove in a big insurance run.

Daniel Larrowe singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh for the Maroon Tide (1-1) before Logan Alley, the Cougars’ fourth pitcher of the afternoon, got a pop-up and a ground ball to end it.

Pulaski County spent 47 minutes whacking the ball around Felts Park in its first at-bat of the year, building an 8-0 lead before the Maroon Tide got off the field. The first seven Cougars and nine of the first 10 to step to the plate reached safely, as Pulaski County coupled four hits with an error and six walks to zoom out to a seemingly comfortable lead.

“We got off to a rough start,” Parnell said. “They were really hitting the ball well. But we came out and started hitting the ball ourselves and showed that we had some fight in us.”

And it didn’t take long, either.

Galax (1-1) had rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to overtake Floyd County 3-1 in its season opener, and wasted no time beginning its comeback against Pulaski. Chandler Quesenberry set the tone by drilling the first pitch of the inning over the left-centerfield fence, and Zipprich followed two batters later with a two-run shot to right, quickly trimming the deficit to a workable five runs.

The Maroon Tide left the bases full in the second and fell victim to a double play in the fourth before giving Pulaski something to worry about with the three-run fifth.

Galax would out-hit the Cougars 12-7 and had five batters with two hits apiece. Zipprich led the way with two hits and three RBIs, and also provided some solid relief work on the mound, giving up one run on two hits over the final three innings as the Tide’s third hurler of the day.

“He surprised me,” Parnell said. “He came in and threw strikes and our defense made the plays behind him.”

Quesenberry, Cox, Davis and Pack each added two hits apiece for Galax. Tyler Blevins was 3-for-3 with three RBIs for Pulaski County.