Needing a win to stay alive against Hickory, Gaston came through in the clutch.
Braves’ starting pitcher Henry Rundio allowed three runs on the mound and drove in three runs from the plate to keep the Braves in the Region IV playoffs, 6-3.
Hickory leadoff hitter Cole McGraw gave Post 48 (12-8) an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
After falling behind in the count 0-1, McGraw took the second pitch he saw deep over left-center field to give Hickory a 1-0 lead.
Gaston batters answered back in a big way. The Braves (12-11) tied the game in the top of the second when left fielder Jeffrey Springs doubled, advanced to third on the next at-bat and scored on a wild pitch by Hickory’s Tyler Poole. Jeremy Null replaced Poole after the second inning.
Null showed sparks early in his appearance on the mound, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the third inning.
The fourth inning was a much different story though, as Null surrendered five runs on four hits to push the Braves ahead 6-1.
The biggest of those four hits came from Rundio, who delivered a three-run shot that towered over the left field wall.
Defensive errors hurt Post 48 in the game Thursday. Hickory committed four errors, including three from third basemen Cody Plemmons and one from shortstop Cameron Beard.
Hickory tried to settle down and gather themselves after a strong pitching performance from Rundio, who kept the Hickory offense off-balance.
Rundio struck out four batters in the first two innings.
Post 48 was able to chunk into the Gaston lead in the top of the sixth inning. After Null doubled with two outs, catcher Stefan Jordan homered to left field to cut the lead to 6-3.
Rundio exited after six innings of work on the mound. He allowed six hits, three walks and struck out four batters. He also went 2-for-4 from the plate with three RBIs.
Struggling to garner any offense, Hickory managed just one hit in the final three innings. They had two strikeouts and four fly outs on their way to the loss.
The victory by Gaston ends a six-game winning streak for Post 48 and drops Hickory’s record at home to 8-3.
Post 48 and Gaston play in game four today at 7 p.m. at South Point High School.