The Sweet Sixteen began for HoCo Baseball as they hosted the Marist War Eagles in a doubleheader yesterday that resulted in a split. Game one opened with Marist racking up a handful of hits in the top half of the first and plated the series’ first run via a single to lead 1-0. The Bears tied the game at 1 in the last of the first when Hunter Chiappetta grounded into fielder’s choice to run in courtesy runner Christian Wahiwe.
HoCo took it’s first lead of the series when Drew Burress cranked a solo jack to center in the last of the third and later…. Hunter Chiappetta grounded out and ran in Andrew Dunford to give the Bears a 3-1 lead going into the top half of the fourth. The War Eagles would tie the game up at 3 in the top half of the fourth via a HoCo error that ran in two runs for the visitors.
The Bears retook the lead for good in the last of the fourth by plating two runs that came in via a walk that rounded the bases and a fielder’s choice to lead 5-3. HoCo plated three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth that were plated via a bunt single, a bases rounding walk, and a double play in which Christian Wahiwe was thrown out at third after the eighth run came in before third out was recorded.
HoCo closed out the game by allowing no runs in the top half of the seventh to take game one 8-3 over Marist to take a 1-0 series lead. Drew Burress led the Bears in rbis with three followed by Hunter Chiappetta with two, along with Andrew Dunford and Ethan Buffone with one each.
HoCo SP Ryker Chavis surrendered three runs (one earned) on 11 hits, walking one, and striking out seven in a complete game on the mound. The War Eagles’s pitchers combined to allow eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits, walking three, and striking out three. The Bears committed one error while Marist committed three errors.
Game two would be a near 180 in regards to hits and runs scored along with the final score as the War Eagles were the designated home team. The first inning and a half went scoreless but that all changed in the last of the second as Marist exploded for six runs in this frame that were plated via a single, a bases rounding walk, a triple, and an error.
The Bears tried to make a big rally as they plated a run in the top half of the fourth via a Hunter Chiappetta sac fly that ran in courtesy runner Hudson Sherman followed by a run in the top half of the fifth via a Kai Decker single that ran in Drew Burress to cut the gap down to 6-2 Marist. The War Eagles plated a seventh run in the last of the sixth via an error to extend the lead back to five.
HoCo plated a run in the top half of the seventh when Hunter Chiappetta hit a double that ran in Drew Burress to cut the gap back down to four but that would be all the Bears could get as Marist would shut the door and take game two 7-3 in an upset to split the doubleheader and send the series into a winner-take-all game three.
The War Eagles were led in rbis by C. Comerford with four followed by D. Strickland with one while the Bears were led by Hunter Chiappetta with two followed by Kai Decker with one. Marist’s pitchers combined to allow three runs (two earned) on 11 hits, walking three, and striking out four.
HoCo SP Andrew Dunford struggled on the mound where he allowed six runs (five earned and all in the second inning) on four hits, walking four, and striking out five in five innings of work. Brooks Willis came in relief in the last of the sixth and he surrendered one run (unearned) on no hits, walking one, and striking out none in one inning of relief work.
The Bears committed two errors while Marist committed one error. Game three will be tomorrow at 5pm at HoCo and the winner will advance to take on Blessed Trinity in the Elite Eight while the loser will be eliminated.
If the War Eagles win… they will travel to Roswell and if the Bears win… they will host Blessed Trinity as the universal coin flip has been completed and the teams on the bottom brackets will be the home team in the Elite Eight when two teams face off and have equal seeds.
Drew Burress’ home run was his 12th of the season and the 24th for the team. Game two was the first game that HoCo failed to lead at any point this season and it was also the Bears’ first non-tournament loss and first loss against a Georgia team in 2023.