Chapel Hill Advances to Second Round With Thrilling 10-Inning Win Over Athens
JACKSONVILLE -- Carson Epifano's RBI double in the top of the 10th inning and a bases-loaded double play turned in the bottom half sent the Chapel Hill Bulldogs to a 4-3 win over Athens on Saturday in Game 3 of their Class 3A Region II bi-district playoff series.
Chapel Hill (20-11) will face Paris next week in the area round of the playoffs.
With the score knotted at 3-3, Chapel Hill's Cole Williams doubled to right field with two outs in the 10th. Carson Epifano followed with an RBI double to left to account for the go-ahead run.
Athens posed a serious threat in its half of the inning. Michael Canales walked to begin the frame and moved to second on a Garrett Conley sacrifice bunt. Brandon Boyd was then hit by a pitch, and a passed ball moved both Canales and Boyd to third and second with one out.
Chapel Hill then opted to issue an intentional walk to Travis Takakta to load the bases. But Lance Funkhouser hit into a double play to second base, ending the game and the series.
Andrew Black got the win out of the bullpen for the Bulldogs. He worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Starting pitcher Peyton Richardson gave up three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk in 4 1/3 innings.
Pat Day led Chapel Hill offensively by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Every Bulldogs starter had at least one hit or one run scored on the day.
Adam Stallings, who suffered the loss despite three solid innings of relief, led Athens with a 2-for-4 performance that included two doubles and an RBI. Takata also had two hits and drove in a run.
Athens starting pitcher Josh Darden allowed three unearned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and five walks in seven innings.
Stallings' RBI double to score Boyd gave the Hornets a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Chapel Hill took its first lead with two runs in the third on RBI singles by Zack Walters and Day.
Athens went back in front with two runs of its own in the fifth, scoring on a Conley RBI double and Takata run-scoring single. Chapel Hill tied the game on Richardson's RBI single in the sixth.