The HoCo Bears hosted the Lee Co Trojans in a doubleheader yesterday that resulted in a Bears sweep to finish region play at 15-0 in 2023. HoCo started game one off on fire as they plated four runs in the bottom half of the first inning that came in via three singles and a walk that rounded the bases.
The Trojans cut the lead in half by plating two runs in the top half of the second that came in via an error and a walk that rounded the bases to trail 4-2. The Bears responded quickly in the bottom half of the second when Eli Stephens hit a lead off solo home run to give HoCo a 5-2 lead at the time. Hunter Chiappetta plated the Bears’ sixth run with an rbi single that ran in Drew Burress.
HoCo added a seventh run when Andrew Dunford scored on a Lee Co error in the bottom half of the fourth. The Bears plated three runs in the bottom half of the fifth via a Vick Gann rbi triple and an Andrew Dunford two rbi single to give HoCo a 10-2 lead going into the top half of the sixth.
The Bears closed the door on the Trojans in game one by plating two runs in the bottom half of the sixth that came in via a Ty Waters rbi double and an Eli Stephens rbi single to run rule Lee Co and win game one 12-2 in six to take the series over the Trojans.
HoCo starting pitcher Carson Small was somewhat shaky from the mound as he surrendered two runs (both earned) on three hits, walking four, and striking out six in four innings of work. Camden Cunningham relieved Small by pitching the remaining two innings and he allowed no runs on one hit, walked two, and struck out one.
Lee Co’s pitchers combined to allow 12 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits, walking seven, and striking out six. Eli Stephens, Andrew Dunford, and Hunter Chiappetta led the Bears in rbis with two each followed by Kai Decker, Elijah Smith, Ty Waters, Ethan Buffone, and Vick Gann with one. Gavin Brinkley was responsible for the Trojans’ lone rbi.
HoCo had 13 hits and committed one error while Lee Co had four hits and committed three errors. In between both games; the 2022 state championship winning HoCo Cheerleading squad was recognized just in front of home plate.
Game two would also be won by the Bears but in a completely different way from how they won game one. HoCo once again struck first in the bottom half of the first but plated just one run that came in via Ty Waters getting hit by pitch that rounded the bases.
The top half of the second is where the Bears got themselves into trouble as the Trojans exploded with five runs that came in via a walk that rounded the bases, a wild pitch, an error, and a sacrifice grounder to give Lee Co the 5-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the second. HoCo had the bases loaded in the bottom half of the third with no outs but failed to plate a run after Hunter Chiappetta flied out to right, Ty Waters striking out swinging, and Kendall Jackson grounding into fielder’s choice.
Game two would remain 5-1 in favor of the visitors going into the bottom half of the sixth and the Bears began making a comeback when Eli Stephens hit a sacrifice groundout to run in Kendall Jackson to cut the gap down to 5-2. Drew Burress also hit a sacrifice groundout to run in Ethan Buffone to bring the score to 5-3 Trojans and Vick Gann was doubled off at third to end the sixth.
The Bears held Lee Co scoreless in the top of the seventh to give themselves one last rally attempt to either tie or win the game. Kai Decker hit an rbi single that ran in Andrew Dunford to bring HoCo within one with nobody out in the last of the seventh. Hunter Chiappetta flied out to right and Ryker Chavis struck out swinging to put two outs on the board with courtesy runner Hudson Sherman at first base.
Elijah Smith singled to left on a line drive that sent Sherman to second base and Ethan Buffone hit a clutch game-tying rbi single that would run in Hudson Sherman and Elijah Smith was picked off at second after getting caught in a jam to send the game to extras tied at five.
The first inning and a half of extra play featured no runs and after Ryker Chavis hit a stand up double and Elijah Smith bunted out to Trojans pitcher Carter Singletary…. Vick Gann came up to bat and hit a walk-off rbi single to center that ran in Ryker Chavis and gave HoCo the 6-5 victory in nine innings.
The Bears pitchers combined to allow five runs (three earned) on five hits, walking four, and striking out 11 while Lee Co’s pitchers combined to allow six runs (five earned) on 11 hits, walking nine, and striking out nine. Eli Stephens, Kai Decker, Ty Waters, Ethan Buffone, and Vick Gann each had one rbi to account for all five of HoCo’s rbis in game two.
Brent Smith led the Trojans in rbis with two followed by Josh Barnes and Tyler Loewe with one each. The Bears had 11 hits and committed two errors while Lee Co had five hits and committed one error. HoCo improved to 25-4 overall; 15-0 in region play while the Trojans fell to 19-10 overall; 9-6 in region play.
Lee Co will wrap-up regular season play by traveling to play Schley Co next Tuesday at 5:30pm while the Bears will host Ola next Tuesday at 6pm on Senior Night to wrap up their regular season.
The seeding for region 1-AAAAAA has been set as HoCo will be the 1 seed, Tift Co the 2 seed, Lee Co the 3 seed, and Thomas Co Central the 4 seed going into the Playoffs.