UNION — The Yellow Jackets had their sights set on winning the pre-season tournament Friday night and a 5-run sixth inning was not enough for Chapin to deter the them. The Union County JV matched the Eagles’ output in the bottom of the inning en route to a 10-9 win.
The Jackets surrendered a 5-4 lead when Chapin touched up relief pitcher J.D. Cheek for three hits and capitalized on a couple of fielding errors to claim a 9-5 lead. Union County was unfazed by the effort and used intelligent at-bats to re-stake its claim. Cheek was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning while Brian Savage and Troy Millwood drew back to back walks, loading the bases. A.J. Hunter lined a single to deep-center field, plating Cheek and the Jackets were in business. Dierrius Smith was issued a walk to score Savage and Millwood touched home off a passed ball to to cut the Chapin lead to one at 9-8. Union County loaded the bases once again with a walk to Kannon Small. Earl Petty drove in Hunter for the tying run with a single to left field. Smith scored the go-ahead run when Cheek singled on his second at-bat in the inning, giving the Jackets a 10-9 lead heading into the seventh.
A two-out single to center field was all Chapin could mange in the top of the inning and Cheek forced a pop-fly to first base for the final out.
Union County JV Head Coach Jeff Bailey said he was pleased with his team’s determination when they found themselves down by four runs with an inning and a half to go.
“Before we started batting in the bottom of the sixth I challenged them a little bit,” said Bailey. “I told them, ‘This will be your first test of character. Are you gonna play or are you gonna quit?’ I guess they took it to heart.”
Union County led every other inning except the third when Chapin held a 4-3 advantage.
Cheek scored off a fielder’s choice in the first inning and Small RBI singled to give Union County a 2-0 lead. Millwood got the start from the hill for the Jackets and yielded two hits in the top of the second and Chapin scored a run with heads-up base-running to cut the margin to 2-1. Union County added a run in the second and Chapin tacked on three in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Smith and Small each contributed hits in Union County’s portion of the inning. Dean and Petty had back to back sacrifice flies to advance the runners and Hunter Bailey sent the both home with a 2-RBI single to reclaim the lead at 5-4.
Cheek pitched two innings of relief and picked up the save for Union County. Millwood hurled five innings with four strikeouts, four walks and gave up four hits.
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