- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
After giving up an early 3-0 lead against Goochland in the Dixie Majors Virginia State Tournament title game Wednesday night, all the South Boston Majors all-stars needed to do was plate one run with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game.
They did just that on a John Nichols’ grounder that scored Zach King from third base with the run that gave South Boston a 4-3 win and a berth in the Dixie Majors World Series starting July 31 in Independence, La.
Chris Hunt, whose three-run homer proved to be the difference in an 8-7 win over Smyth County on Tuesday, went 3-4 with three RBI’s in the championship game, while Bill Wooding was 2-3 with two runs scored and Luke Griles 2-4 with a run scored.
Jacob Holley led Goochland with a double, single and RBI, Jimmy Dunnavant had an RBI double and Josh Vipperman an RBI single.
South Boston got off to a good start in the title game with two runs in the first inning and one in the second.
Wooding bunted for a single, Griles singled and Hunt knocked them both home with a two-run double in the first inning, an inning that saw Scott Rickman double off the center field fence.
South Boston added a run in the second when E.C. Collins walked, Aron Puryear and Wooding reached on fielder’s choices, and Griles and Hunt singled to make it 3-0.
Goochland got a run back in the third on a single by Holley and a Dunnavant RBI double and pulled to within a run in the fifth when Clark Wilson drew a leadoff walk and scored on a Holley double.
Goochland tied the game in the top of the seventh when Wilson doubled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Vipperman’s hit.
South Boston got the run it needed in the bottom of the seventh to win the game, starting with a base hit from Hunt and a walk to Lewis walked and Rickman reached base after being hit by a pitch before Nichols hit an infield grounder that plated King.
Four runs were enough for South Boston, which got six innings from starting pitcher Tyler Lewis.
Lewis allowed two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work before Griles came to the mound in the seventh inning.
Griles allowed one run on two hits, but South Boston turned a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the jam and set up the rally in the bottom of the inning.
Goochland starting pitcher Ben Harris went the first one and one-third innings, and Vipperman pitched the rest of the game, striking out seven and walking three batters.
“The pitching was great on both sides and it came down to the last inning where what I call my MVP Chris Hunt got it started,” said South Boston manager Mark Nichols.
“It was a well-played baseball game, a well-pitched baseball game.”
“We squandered a couple of chances to score more runs, but the guys kept fighting all the way to the end.”
The level of competition at the state tournament can only help South Boston as they get ready for the World Series, Nichols added.
“We had three, maybe four excellent teams here, so we are looking forward to going to Louisiana,” noted Nichols
“This is the first World Series for me and a bunch of the guys.”
South Boston 9 Smyth County 8
A two-run homer by Lewis in the fifth inning and a three-run shot by Hunt in the sixth helped South Boston rally from a 7-4 deficit and eliminate Smyth County 8-7 on Tuesday.
Lewis added two other RBIs on groundouts in the first and third innings for South Boston, and Aron Puryear added a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Wooding singled and later scored on a Lewis groundout in the first, but Smyth County took a 3-1 lead in the second with solo home runs by Aaron Clampitt and Daniel Ashby, and singles by Josh Jackson and Jeff Bramlett.
South Boston tied the game in the third on a Puryear double and singles by Wooding and Griles, but Smyth County regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a Jared Blevins homer, two walks and a double by Adam Powers that made it 7-3.
Collins singled and later scored on a Puryear double in the bottom of the fourth, and Blevins reached base on an error for Smyth County and later scored in the top of the fifth to make it 8-4.
Hunt singled, Lewis homered and Rickman doubled in the fifth to pull South Boston to within 8-6, and Hunt hit a three-run homer in the sixth after Puryear was hit by a pitch and Griles drew a walk.
Nichols pitched the first three and two-thirds innings for South Boston before Puryear came to the mound to finish the game, with Nichols striking out three batters and Puryear one.