Gray rallies to beat Andrew Jackson, force winner-take-all game for 2A baseball title

·3 min read

Gray Collegiate coach Charles Assey Sr. held a lengthy pre-game meeting in left field Tuesday before Game 2 of the Class 2A championship series.

One of the things Assey brought up was things his team needed to do to avoid an Andrew Jackson celebration, which would have happened with a Volunteers victory.

After a shaky start, Gray Collegiate prevented the postgame dogpile and forced a series-deciding game with a 6-4 win on Tuesday in front of an estimated 1,000 fans, the largest crowd to witness a game at Midlands Sports Complex.

Game 3 will be held at a neutral site, most likely at Camden High School, on Saturday evening. Time and location will be announced Wednesday morning.

“We haven’t lost here this year. This is our house. You defend your house,” Assey Sr. said. “That was my motto today. We aren’t going to let them come dogpile in our house, and we need to prevent that from happening.

“You got to give these guys credit — a gutsy performance by everybody. It was a perfect night for us.”

Austin Lloyd was one of the Gray players who played a big role Tuesday. He came in to relieve starter Gavin Creede, who gave up a two-run homer to Landon Peavy the second batter of the game and made it only one more batter.

The right-handed Lloyd gave up two runs on two hits, struck out six and walked three in 5.1 innings.

Lloyd left the game in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, one out and Gray up 6-2. The Volunteers cut the lead to 6-4 on a bases-loaded walk and a hit batter.

With two outs and the bases still loaded, London Spires entered the game to pitch with Peavy at the plate. Spires got Peavy — who thought he was hit by a pitch earlier in the at-bat — to fly out and end the inning.

A.J. got the tying run to the plate with one out in the seventh, but Spires retired the final two batters to pick up the save.

“I was ready but I didn’t think my chance was going to come today,” Spires said. “When he called me to the bullpen, I knew I had to do the job. I did my best and I did it.”

After the game, A.J. coach Mike Lucas still thought Peavy was hit, but the umpires said the pitch hit his bat. Lucas didn’t use it as an excuse, though. It was just the second loss of the season for the Volunteers (31-2), who lost to Dreher earlier in the season.

“I knew it was a hit-by-pitch. If you check the video you will see,” Lucas said. “The corner umpires agreed and said it hit the bat. That’s their call. They called it, we accept it and we will just move from there.

“That didn’t determine the game. They were the better team and outplayed us tonight.”

Down 2-1 entering the fourth, the War Eagles took the lead with a five-run inning.

Blaine Redmond hit a solo homer to left to tie the game at 2. Brent Stukes added a go-ahead, three-run double to put the War Eagles up 5-2.

Peyton Starkey and Creede each had an RBI for Gray, which is playing in its first championship series.

WP: Austin Lloyd LP: Ashton Phillips SV: London Spires Hitters: AJ: Peavey 1-4 HR, 2 RBI; B. Helms 1-3 RBI. GC: Savion Smith 1-3; Brent Stukes 1-3 3 RBI; Peyton Starkey 1-4 RBI; Gavin Creede 1-3 RBI; Blaine Redmond 1-2 HR, RBI

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