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Evan Sperling delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Grafton a hard-fought 5-4 home win against Deep Creek in Monday’s 4A South quarterfinals.
The Clippers built an early 4-1 lead by the bottom of the third inning thanks to RBIs from Ricks Dearing, Aaron Leonard, Jacob McAllister and Zach Lechthaler.
Deep Creek responded in the top of the fourth inning with three runs to tie the game at 4-4 and put the pressure back on Grafton.
In the top of the seventh inning, Deep Creek was threatening with runners on first and second and two outs. A Deep Creek runner on second base creeped a tad too far off second base and was picked off by Grafton to end the inning.
With the top of the lineup coming up in the bottom of the seventh for Grafton, Grafton Coach Matt Lewellen said he had confidence in his experienced batting rotation.
His confidence was not misplaced as the Clippers quickly loaded the bases with one out, putting a hitless Sperling up to bat. The senior University of Virginia commit delivered, smacked a hard single into the outfield that drove in the game-winning run and kept Grafton’s season alive.
“These guys want it really bad. We just didn’t give in tonight,” Lewellen said. “I’m extremely proud of all of the guys. The seniors got it done in the last inning.”
The win means Grafton (14-8) will host Hanover in the 4A South semifinal Wednesday.
Deep Creek: 001;300;0 – 4 7 0
Grafton: 013;000;1 – 5 7 3
WP: Jacob McAllister
LP: Troy Bettinger
Deep Creek: Michael Ivers (2-3, RBI), Javaughan Moss (1-3, RBI)
Grafton: Evan Sperling (1-2, RBI, 2 R), Ricks Dearing (2-3, RBI)
Lafayette Blows Out Hopewell
The Lafayette offense exploded for 16 runs en route to a commanding 16-3 road win against Hopewell in the quarterfinal of the 3A East tournament Monday.
An Andre Lipcius sacrifice fly led to the only Lafayette run in the top of the first inning, putting the Rams quickly on top 1-0. That lead would grow quickly over the next three innings.
In the top of the second, Jeremiah Antle smacked an RBI triple to center field before Matt Keane drew an RBI on a bases-loaded walk. Later that inning, Luc Lipcius delivered a two-run single to right field to put the Rams up 5-0.
The Rams continued their offensive showcase in the top of the fourth inning, driving in seven runs thanks to six hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and two wild pitches by Hopewell. By the time the dust had settled, Lafayette held a 12-0 advantage.
Lafayette added four more runs in the top of the fourth inning to build their lead to 16-0 before Hopewell added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to put a dent in Lafayette’s lead, though in the end it proved too little, too late.
The Rams (16-6) will now prepare to take on Kettle Run in the 3A East semifinal Wednesday.
Lafayette: 140;740;0 – 16 16 0
Hopewell: 000;030;x – 3 2 4
WP: Daniel Blankinship
LP: Nemo Nunez
Lafayette: Jared Antle (4-5, 4 RBIs), Matt Keane (2-3, 3 RBIs), Andre Lipcius (2-4, 3 RBIs)
Hopewell: Hunter Johnson (1-3, RBI), Jacob Rockwell (RBI)