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Galax and Grayson County split another pair of tightly-contested Mountain Empire District tennis matches Friday, Galax’s girls edging the Blue Devil 5-4 in Felts Park and the Grayson boys pulling out a 5-4 win in Independence.
Grayson County won two of the three doubles matches to take a 2-1 lead into singles play, but the Maroon Tide swept the top four singles seeds to pull out the win. Claire Engelhardt claimed a crucial 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles for the Maroon Tide, which got straight sets wins from Joyce Kuang, Paige Hanks and Susan Davis.
Grayson County picked up singles wins from No. 5 Sarah Finklea and No. 6 Laken Newman.
Galax remained tied with Graham for the top spot in the district but must get past Bland County this week to force a playoff for the season title and its automatic Region C berth.
In the boys’ match, Grayson and Galax split the six singles matches with the Blue Devils taking two doubles wins for the team victory.
The teams of Garrett Bailey-Grayson Holdaway and Michael Vaughan-Jake Parnell both won close straight sets wins for the Blue Devils while Zack Marshall and Jacob Patton managed a three-set win at No. 3 doubles.
Bailey, Vaughan and Parnell won their singles matches for Grayson County, as did Galax’s Ty Cornett, Patton and Caleb Bartlett.
Marion 2, Carroll County 1 (8 inn.): Collin Gullion scored the winning run on a straight steal of home in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Scarlet Hurricane the win in a SWD game Friday in Marion.
Two of the game’s three runs came by stealing home. Ryan Gravley singled and later scored on a double steal in the top of the first for the Cavaliers but Marion knotted the game in the second on an RBI single by Sammy Wagner.
Otherwise, Marion pitcher Tyler Delp and Carroll counterpart Aaron Hooven were in command of the game. Delp went the distance for the Hurricanes, allowing five hits, only two after the first inning, striking out one and walking none. The Cavaliers’ Reese Edwards singled and advanced to third with two outs but was stranded.
Hooven left after issuing a leadoff walk to Gullion to start the eighth inning. The senior right-hander struck out 11 and got the first two batters out in five of his seven complete innings but was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
Grayson County 8, Galax 2: The Blue Devils remained unbeaten in MED play, using a four-run fifth inning to fuel the win Friday in Independence.
Leading 4-0, Grayson took advantage of two Galax errors and a two-run Tayler Hale double to widen its lead to 8-0.
Galax scored twice on RBI ground outs in the top of the seventh before running out of steam.
Brady Cassell and Autumn Halsey had run-scoring singles as the Devils took the lead for good in the bottom of the first. Hale added an RBI single in the second, as did Madison Shupe in the fourth.
Hale was 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Grayson while Britney Byrd had a pair of doubles for Galax.
Carroll County 2, Tazewell 1 (8 inn.): Grace Lindsey dropped a squeeze bunt with none out in the bottom of the eighth, scoring Lexi Hodge with the winning run as the Cavaliers took a SWD win Friday in Hillsville.
Hodge led off the inning with a bunt single, reaching third on a throwing error to set up Lindsey’s game-winner.
Lindsey reached on a dropped third strike with two outs in the sixth, and pinch runner Emily Hiatt scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch. Tazewell tied the game in the top of the seventh on Haley Bradshaw’s RBI single.
Lillie Kimble got the complete-game win for Carroll, allowing just two singles and striking out 11. She took a no-hitter into the seventh before Bre Sparks led off with a single.
Fort Chiswell 9, Galax 8: The Maroon Tide pulled to within a run in the final two innings but left the tying run at third base in a MED loss Thursday in Max Meadows.
Channing Russell had RBI hits in each the sixth and seventh, the latter drawing Galax to within a run before Pioneer pitcher Amber Chrisley got a strikeout to end the game with runners on the corners.
The Maroon Tide took a 6-3 lead with five runs in the fourth but Fort Chiswell answered with two in the bottom half followed by four runs in the fifth.
Russell was 3-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Tide. Dunikqua Gambill, Harley Brewer and Hayley Reynolds added two hits each.
Richlands 6, Carroll County 1: The Blue Tornado built a 4-0 lead and held on for the SWD win last week in Richlands.
Keshia Lynch had three hits and Kelli Hess added two for Richlands. Lindsey had a pair of hits for Carroll County.
New River Invitational: Host Giles swept the boys’ and girls’ team wins at a meet Friday bringing together former members of the old New River District.
The Spartans picked up 118 points to top Floyd County’s 75 in the girls’ standings. Narrows was third with 65. Grayson County finished tied for sixth in the girls’ standings with 34 points. Carlie Smith won both the 1600 and the 3200 for the Blue Devils, Hayley Reavis was second in the 400 and Olivia Wyatt placed third in the 3200.
In the boys’ events, Giles racked up 183 points to easily outdistance runner-up Floyd’s 56. Galax was sixth with 33 points and Grayson ninth with 18.
Galax took three of the six scoring places in the discus, including a first place by Colton Turbyfill.
Grayson’s Tyler Pauley won the 3200 and was third in the 1600 and Galax’s Matthew Calton placed second in the 800.