Down 4-0, the Bunker Hill baseball never gave up.
The Bears relied on their veteran leadership to score 10 runs over the next six innings on their way to a second straight CVAC baseball tournament championship.
“I think our maturity and seniors carried us through,” said Bunker Hill coach Marty Curtis. “They have been in those situations for four years. They have confidence and know they are able to come back. With a good pitcher going against us on the mound, I knew it was going to be tough. There was never any panic though. I could see it in our kids. Everyone was calm. They knew it was a long baseball game and chipped away.”
Bandys got off to a quick 4-0 start on four hits off of Bunker Hill starter Cody Plemmons, who struggled in the first inning.
Trojans’ pitcher and leadoff hitter Hunter Harvey plated the first run of the game after singling and stealing second. He scored on an error.
After Jackson Gilliam walked in the second at-bat and advanced to second on the error that scored Harvey, Daniel Melton singled to plate another run.
Two more singles and another Bandys’ run went on the board before Plemmons exited from the mound. Cole McGraw, who was on the mound when the Bears lost to the Trojans in the regular season finale, took over for Plemmons.
“I just needed to throw strikes,” McGraw said. “I just tried to do that and put my team in a good situation to win.”
That’s just what McGraw did. The Bears were able to hold the Trojans at bay by getting three straight outs, with McGraw earning two strikeouts.
After a quick 1-2-3 inning for Bunker Hill in the bottom of the first, the first two hits and runs by the Bears came in the bottom of the second inning.
First basemen Jacob Shepherd doubled with one out. Seth Brotherton followed that by drilling a ball over the left field wall for a two-run homer.
“It felt good to hit the home run,” Brotherton said. “We started hitting the ball pretty good and put some runs on the board. We never gave up. That was the main thing. We fought hard to win this ball game.”
The biggest inning for Bunker Hill was yet to come, as they scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to pull ahead 8-4. The Bears had five hits in the inning, including three singles and two doubles. McGraw had the biggest of those hits — a two-RBI double that scored Kyle Davis and Tyler Shook.
It took the Trojans a few innings to regain composure, but they began to chip away at the Bears’ lead. An error by Davis allowed Hayden Deal to score one run. McGraw was clutch against, striking out one batter and retired the other on a ground out to dodge any further trouble.
Bunker Hill immediately answered by scoring two runs in the sixth inning.
Jason Setzer and Davis each had RBI singles in the inning to extend the lead from three to five. The Trojans would get no closer, as the Bears took the title.
The Bears face Starmount on Friday in the first round of the 2A state baseball tournament.
“We are just going to try to do what we do well,” Curtis said. “If we do that, I feel like we will have a good shot of winning. If we don’t play well, that is usually a formula for getting beat. We are just going to try to have a good three days of practice, and get ready for the playoffs.”