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AMHERST –– Galax couldn’t overcome a strong Appomattox team and settled for a runner-up finish in the Dixie O-Zone state tournament recently.
The tournament couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the District 1 champions, who scored five runs in their first at-bat of the event. Zaine Goodman, John Key, Matt Coomes and Chris Meredith had first-inning RBI base hits as Galax opened with a 17-4 win over Pulaski.
Galax took a 7-3 lead into the top of the sixth when it blew the game open with 10 runs. Key laced a two-run single and Coomes added a run-scoring single before Ty Rector clubbed a grand slam, followed by a three-run homer by Jacob Stuart.
Coomes pitched 21/3 innings, striking out four, to earn the win.
Galax had to rally from a 7-2 deficit to remain undefeated after two days, holding off South Boston 9-8.
South Boston put up six runs in the top of the second for a 7-2 lead going into the third. Key delivered a two-run single for a 7-4 gap after three, while Stuart came on in relief and registered back-to-back 1-2-3 innings.
Doubles by Joseph Berry and Rector started the fourth for Galax, which took an 8-7 lead on RBI hits from Stuart and Goodman, but South Boston knotted the score in the top of the fifth.
Coomes doubled and pinch runner Gage Cooke scored on Berry’s double for the go-ahead run, and Stuart struck out the side in the top of the sixth to nail down the win. Stuart fanned nine in 41/3 innings.
In a meeting between the tournament’s last two unbeatens, Appomattox held Galax to five hits and took advantage of six errors in an easy 9-1 win.
Galax began its comeback through the bottom bracket with a 12-2 elimination win over Pulaski. Stuart held Pulaski to three hits, striking out eight, while the Galax offense scored six runs on just one hit in the first two innings. Four straight walks preceded a three-run base hit by Key for a 6-1 lead going into the third.
Galax added six runs on five hits in the fifth. Shawn Campbell singled home a run and two more scored on an error before Key knocked in a pair of runs with a single. Rector’s bunt scored Key to end the game in the fifth on the 10-run rule.
The win placed Galax in the championship matchup against Appomattox, needing to win twice to claim the state title.
Galax’s championship hopes took a big blow as Appomattox scored seven unearned runs in the bottom of the first, coupling two hits with two errors, two hit batsmen and two walks.
Trailing 8-0 after three complete, Galax began to rally in the fourth on a misplayed Stuart pop to left followed by a Goodman RBI single.
Galax pulled to within a run in the top of the fifth with six runs on four walks, two hits and two errors. Chris Meredith’s bases-loaded groundout to third brought the first run across and Campbell followed with a two-run single.
Key cleared the bases with a three-run double to the gap in right-center to pull Galax to within 8-7, and Key eventually advanced to third before being stranded.
Appomattox’s pitcher struck out the side in the top of the sixth to clinch the state title.