HoCo came into Game Three on a mission to not let history repeat itself from last season when they lost Game Three at home to Buford 11-1 in five. They did just that as a six-run fourth inning is all it took for the Bears to win Game Three over the Blessed Trinity Titans by a final score of 6-1 to advance to the Final Four for the second time in three years.
The first three innings of this game went scoreless as both starting pitchers started off sharp. HoCo SP Carson Small had a sketchy moment in the last of the second when Blessed Trinity loaded the bases with nobody out. What followed was a flyout, then a strikeout, and then another flyout to end the last of the second with no Titans runner coming home to keep the game scoreless.
The top half of the fourth is where the Bears broke the ice and blew the game open as the first two HoCo batters were HBP and then Kai Decker came up and hit an rbi single that ran in Drew Burress to plate the game’s first run. After Hunter Chiappetta grounded into fielder’s choice…. Ryker Chavis hit a two rbi double that ran in Kai Decker and Hunter Chiappetta to push the lead to 3-0 in favor of the Bears.
Elijah Smith struck out looking to put the second out on the board but after Ethan Buffone and Vick Gann were walked…. Eli Stephens hit a two rbi single that ran in Ryker Chavis and Ethan Buffone to give HoCo a 5-0 lead. Drew Burress would hit an rbi double that ran in Vick Gann to give the Bears a 6-0 lead going into the last of the fourth.
Carson Small kept the Titans off the board after five but with one out on the board in the last of the sixth…. Michael Zito hit a sac fly that ran in Kade Kisz to get Blessed Trinity on the board to cut the gap down to 6-1 Bears. Small would get two more outs to get Game Three to the top half of the seventh with HoCo up by five.
After the Bears failed to plate any runs in the seventh…. Drew Burress came in to relieve Small in the last of the seventh and found two outs quickly. Titans player Cooper Milford tried to steal second but was picked off after catcher Eli Stephens made in an incredible throw to get the third out to end Game Three and the series as the Bears defeated Blessed Trinity 6-1 to win the series 2-1 and advance to the Final Four.
Eli Stephens and Ryker Chavis led HoCo in rbis with two a piece followed by Drew Burress and Kai Decker with one. SP Carson Small surrendered one run (earned) on three hits, walking three, and striking out four in six innings of work. Drew Burress relieved Small in the seventh and surrendered no runs on no hits, walking one, and striking out one in one inning of relief work.
Michael Zito was responsible for the Titans’ lone rbi and their pitchers combined to allow six runs (all earned) on seven hits, walking six, and striking out four. HoCo currently sits at 32-6 overall and will host the 3 seed out of region six… the Etowah Eagles from Woodstock in the Final Four with the doubleheader being scheduled for Friday and the IF game scheduled for Saturday with times TBA. Blessed Trinity finishes 2023 at 28-9 overall.