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Richmond County baseball evens series with Middle Creek

Richmond County baseball evens series

It’ll be do-or-die for Middle Creek’s baseball team on Saturday night, but at least it’ll be in a comfortable location. The 4A East best-of-3 series will shift back to the Mustangs’ home after Richmond County came away with a 6-2 victory to even the series on Friday.

It’ll be do-or-die for Middle Creek’s baseball team on Saturday night, but at least it’ll be in a comfortable location.

The 4A East best-of-3 series will shift back to the Mustangs’ home after Richmond County came away with a 6-2 victory to even the series on Friday. Middle Creek hasn’t lost at home since March 7 – a span of 14 games.

With another home game to play for a spot in the 4A championships, Middle Creek coach Jeremy Thompson had his team looking forward immediately after the loss.

“Let’s go back home, let’s get it done,” he said.

Junior lefty Graham Edwards, who had a no-decision and 10 strikeouts in a nine-inning playoff win against Millbrook on Tuesday, will start Game 3. Game 1 starter Jimmy Boyd, who tossed a three-hitter in the 7-0 win, will be ready to close it out if necessary.

“We’ve got a chance where you can actually lose in the playoffs and continue playing, which is pretty special and pretty rare,” Thompson said. “Let’s get it done tomorrow at our place.”

With not enough time for Boyd or Edwards to go, Middle Creek (23-7) turned to its third starter, senior Sal Savarese, who had not started in a few weeks.

But Savarese went 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and three hits in the first inning but settling down after that.

Middle Creek trailed 2-0 until the top of the sixth, when the Mustangs loaded the bases twice and got sacrifice flies from David Salmon and Diego Guerrero to tie it up.

Savarese gave up just six hits and one walk total before leaving the game with a 2-2 tie with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

“It’s tough. You go to the daggone Final Four and say ‘All right big boy, we need you to step up. Get on the mound,’ ” Thompson said. “I think he was a little nervous early, but then he got the job done.”

Jake Benedict came in and picked up a fielder’s choice out at third, but he walked the next player and was removed. Jordan Towler was the third Middle Creek pitcher on the night, but walked in the go-ahead run and gave up a three run double in the next at bat. The runner was thrown out at third to end the inning.

“You’ve got juniors and sophomores coming into the game that means a whole heck of a lot – that haven’t thrown that much,” Thompson said. “It makes it tough. They’re going to be really good and learn from this experience and grow and be better players and better people, which is what it’s really all about - and we’re going to be fine.”

The Raiders (25-6) allowed just three hits after getting a three-hit Game 1 by Boyd.

“We had it tied up late, you just gotta bring it home,” Thompson said. “I’ll give their kids credit, they stepped in and did what they needed to do. They battled through their adversities and we just need to battle through ours a little bit more. We’ll do it tomorrow.”

The winner of Saturday’s Game 3 will meet Charlotte Hough in next weekend’s state championship series. Hough clinched its spot by sweeping the 4A West best-of-3 series Friday night with a 4-1 win against East Forsyth.

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