Now the teams put the season on line in game 3 of their first-round, best-of-three playoff series at noon today at the Sumiton Christian Baseball Field.
Berry took game 1 behind Weston Bonner, jumping out to a 4-0 lead en route to an 8-5 victory. Sumiton Christian countered with a 7-4 win behind Mikah Abbott in game 2.
“Losing the opener kind of put us behind the 8-ball,” Sumiton Christian coach Lance Blair said. “That’s why we threw our No. 1 (Abbott) in the second game. We put it in his hands. Now are back to snuff. We’ve traded blows.”
After dropping the opener due to a string of errors and missed opportunities, Sumiton Christian bounced back in game 2 led by Abbott and Spencer Black.
Abbott (7-2) allowed four runs — three earned — on seven hits and one walk. He struck out nine in seven innings. Black was the offensive leader going a perfect 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles, a run and an RBI.
Sumiton Christian (17-10) wasted no time taking control of the second game, scoring three first-inning runs. Joseph Thompson drew a bases-loaded walk for the first run and Chandler Oates followed with a two-run double. The Eagles added a run in the second inning when Black singled and scored on Austin Clark’s sacrifice fly.
After Berry got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, Sumiton Christian added a run of its own in the top of the fifth with Black driving in Austin Bice with a double.
The Eagles took a 7-1 lead an inning later after a Bice RBI-single and a sacrifice fly from Thompson.
Oates finished the game 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs while Abbott, Clark, Tristan Alexander and Evan Love added hits.
Berry’s David Grzala took the loss. He allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and three walks while striking out three.
In the first game, Sumiton Christian allowed just two earned runs, but was done in by several costly errors. The Eagles still had their chances, putting together rallies in both the sixth and seventh innings. Sumiton Christian was able to score just one run over that span as Berry earned the victory.
Bonner gave up four earned runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out 11.
Berry scored a run in the first inning and three in the second for a 4-0 lead. The Wildcats pushed their lead to 7-1 in the top of the fifth. The Eagles rallied for three in the bottom of the inning, but they got no closer.
Love took the loss. He gave up seven runs — one earned — on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Aaron Patterson threw the final two innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk.
Offensively, Abbott was 3 for 3 with two runs, Bice was 2 for 3 with an RBI, Thompson was 2 for 4 with two stolen bases and an RBI and Love was 1 for 3 with a double and two runs.
For Berry, Luke Sanford and Maken Potter were both 2 for 3 while Tank Hollingsworth was 2 for 4.