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INDEPENDENCE –– Sometimes that last out is the hardest one to put in the book.
Galax held a two-run lead with two out in the bottom of the seventh and was one strike away from holding on for a one-run win, but Tye Kirby’s two-strike, two-out RBI single gave Fort Chiswell new life and the Pioneers edged the Maroon Tide 5-4 in eight innings in the Mountain Empire District semifinals Wednesday at Grayson National Bank Field.
Brock Cox reached on a two-out error in the top of the eighth for Galax and eventually wound up at third before Darren Roberts ended the threat with a strikeout.
Anthony Spencer drew a one-out walk before reliever Travis Cockerham coaxed a fly ball for the second out. A wide throw at first allowed Cory Mabry to reach safely, and an overthrow resulted in a dead ball, moving runners to second and third. Following an intentional walk to Josh Underwood, a 1-1 pitch to Levi Mooney went to the backstop, and Spencer slid in without a play at the plate for the winning run.
Galax fell behind early when Underwood ripped a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, but Terrance Mazon – with a little specialized relief help from lefty Trevor Quesenberry – held the Pioneers to the two runs through the sixth.
A two-out rally saw Galax go from scoreless to a 3-2 lead in the fifth. With two down and Quesenberry on via a walk, Brock Cox singled and Mazon’s sacrifice fly scored Quesenberry to finally get the Maroon Tide on the board.
Travis Cockerham was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive for Galax, which got consecutive RBI singles from Michael Bond and Travis Garvey to push the Maroon Tide into the lead.
Luke Sawyer doubled and scored on Cox’s base hit for a 4-2 lead in the sixth.
A 6-4-3 double play had Galax one out away from its first championship game appearance in years when things went awry. With two down and nobody on base, Underwood singled and Mooney drew a walk. Coleman Thomas and Kirby followed with consecutive RBI singles, Kirby’s base knock knotting the score at 4-4.
Underwood had three hits and a pair of RBIs for the Pioneers, and Roberts picked up the win in relief.
Cox and Garvey each had a pair of hits for Galax, which will still advance to the Region C Division 1 playoffs starting Monday.
Grayson County 13, Narrows 3: Dylan Isom’s grand slam highlighted an eight-run fourth inning Tuesday as the Blue Devils breezed into the tournament finals with a five-inning win.
Grayson County led just 4-3 in the middle of the third before breaking open the eight-run rally. Three walks and an error plated a pair of runs before Isom uncorked his grand slam for a 10-3 Blue Devil lead. Lucas Rudy capped the uprising with a two-run single.
Grayson County totaled just six base hits on the day but took advantage of nine walks and three Green Wave errors.
Dustin Leonard pitched the first three innings to record the win and Nick Perkins added two hitless innings of relief.
Fort Chiswell and Grayson County met Thursday for the tournament championship.