Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 1, 2014

CLASS 3A, REGION II BI-DISTRICT: A thriller in Jacksonville

Hornets survive for 1-0 series lead with 5-4 win over Chapel Hill Bulldogs

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

JACKSONVILLE — The Athens Hornets needed all 107 pitches from senior pitcher Garrett Conley.

Athens picked up a 1-0 series lead with a 5-4 win over the Chapel Hill Bulldogs at Jacksonville High School.

Conley picked up the win with a complete game nine hitter. He struck out eight batters and walked one.

With the win, the Hornets (22-8-1) will look to wrap up the best-of-three series tonight back at Jacksonville High School.

Game 2 of the series is set for 7 p.m.

Game 3 of the series, if needed, is set for 1 p.m. at Jacksonville High School.

The Hornets finished as the No. 2-seed in district play following a 4-3 loss to the Mabank Panthers in 10 innings in a tiebreaker game last Saturday.

With the loss, the Bulldogs are now 18-10 on the season.

The back-and-forth affair played out like a heavyweight fight as both teams proved why they belonged in the playoffs.

In the top of the sixth inning, Athens scored the go ahead runs with a passed ball as Jesse Taylor tied the game at 4-4 on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Mossberger.

Courtesy runner Jack Amheiser then added another run as he stole third and then scored the game winner on a passed ball off Chapel Hill reliever Andrew Black.

The Hornets faced a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first inning as Black and Braden Nelson hit back-to-back off Conley to put runners on first and second.

Zack Walters then hit a sacrifice fly as Black came around to score.

The score would remain the same until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Hornets picked up a 2-1 lead on Nelson in the inning.

Athens first baseman Lance Funkhouser roped a double down the right field line with one out in the inning.

Following a groundout by Adam Stallings, courtesy runner Jeremy Bateman scored as Jesse Taylor reached base on an error by the second baseman.

Daniel Mossberger later singled to put runners on first and third with two outs in the inning.

The Hornets then put together a little bit of trickery as Daniel Mossberger went for the steal of second.

During the rundown of Mossberger, the second baseman went to attempt to tag Mossberger but Taylor came motoring in from third base to give the Hornets the 2-1 lead.

The Bulldogs would come back with three runs in the top of the next inning as on an RBI-single by Nelson that scored Tyler Williams.

They would also score as Black came in to score on the throw and took a 4-2 lead on an RBI-single by Pat Day that scored Nelson from third.

The Hornets would  return the favor with a run in the bottom of the inning as Michael Canales led off with a single.

Following a groundout by Conley and a line drive out by Brandon Boyd, Canales came in to score on a triple by Travis Takata for the 4-3 deficit.

With one last chance to take the win, Conley made sure the Bulldogs went down as he recorded a fly out, a fly ball to Josh Darden and a strikeout of Walters to end the game.

The Hornets were led at the plate by Canales as he went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Takata, Boyd and Mossberger each went 1-for-3, while Funkhouser went 1-for-2 with a double.

Black took the loss for the Bulldogs as he allowed no runs with two strikeouts and one walk in one inning.

The winner of this series will face the winner of the Paris and Crandall series next week in the area round of the playoffs.