Newberry — A.J. Hunter belted out a 2-run homer and a 3-RBI triple to help Union County to a 14-4 win over Gaffney in the JV preseason tournament on Thursday.
The Jackets found themselves down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the second after Gaffney used fives walks and a hit to score three runs in the inning.
Union County turned it around with a couple of momentum-shifting hits.
Dierrius Smith led off with a single to center field. Hunter Bailey drew a walk and Cannon Small reached on a fielder’s choice. Kha’Darrius Dean was issued a walk to load bases and the third walk of the inning forced in a run. Brian Savage lined an RBI single to center field to score Small and a walk plated another Union County run. With the bases still loaded, Hunter roped a triple into left field clearing all bags but the one he was standing on, to give the Jackets a 6-3 lead.
Gaffney picked up a run in the top of the third off a passed ball at home plate and Union County added one in the bottom of the inning when Small reached off a fielding error.
The Jackets held a 7-4 advantage after the Indians went scoreless in the fourth and Hunter stroked a 2-run homer over the left field fence to put them ahead, 9-4 in the bottom of the inning.
Again in the fifth, Gaffney had no answer and Union County tacked on five more.
Small led off the inning with a single to left field and Earl Petty contributed his second single of the game. Dean laid down a bunt and Small scored on the play off a throwing error. Petty crossed home off another Gaffney error before Troy Millwood singled to left field to score Dean. A walk forced in a run before Millwood touched home off a sacrifice fly for the 14-4 final.
Bailey picked up the win for Union County, hurling three innings with seven walks and four strikeouts. Wesley Mannes relieved Bailey in the top of the fourth and pitched two innings of shutout ball with no hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
Sports Editor Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at (864) 251-4330.