Sophomores Justin Bullock and Clay Walters and senior Cameron Willis played the major roles Thursday night as South Granville kept its baseball season alive with a 3-1 victory over Midway.
The best-of-3 2A Eastern Regional championship series is tied. The game to decide a berth in the state championships next weekend will be at 7 Friday night at Midway.
The Vikings (22-3) lost the first game 6-5 to the reigning state champion Raiders but rallied late in the game.
“We were down four runs in Game 1 and rallied but came up short,” South Granville coach Curt Watkins said. “But that rally gave us some momentum into this game.”
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Willis started strong on the mound and Bullock crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the first after leadoff hitter Zack Moore singled.
“We know they have three elite pitchers, but that was a curve I hit. I just stayed on it,” said Bullock, who is hitting .460 with seven homers.
Willis pitched into the fourth and gave up a solo homer to Kyle Hawley. He struck out five in his 32/3 innings. Walters then came in from centerfield to shutout Midway (23-3) the rest of the way.
“I haven’t pitched in a while, but I was ready. I knew I had to keep them off-balance,” Walters said.
Willis also came through with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, driving in Ethen Bowen who reached on a fielder’s choice.
“I can go eight or nine deep on the mound,” coach Watkins said. “I started Cameron because he’s a great senior leader and he’s going to battle you. I was hoping to get four innings out of him and then go to Clay and the plan worked.”
Moore, Bullock and Willis had two hits each in the win. Bullock, who has committed to N.C. State, also had two hits in the series opener.
“We can handle the pressure,” Bullock said. “We know if we play Viking baseball we’re in good shape.”
Watkins said Justin Brown will get the start Friday. Bullock, who is 9-2 as the Vikings’ ace, started the first game and could be available if needed.