Facing a two-run deficit with only two outs left in the game, the Armuchee Indians rallied to tie the score and then scored one more run in the eighth inning to grab a 4-3 victory over Region 7-AA rival Model on Friday afternoon at State Mutual Stadium.
Armuchee’s Will Phillips laced a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line, driving in two runs to tie the score in the top of the seventh inning.
First baseman Chad Wilson broke the tie in the eighth, dropping a 1-2 pitch into center field, scoring Chase Cooper and giving the Indians the 4-3 lead.
“It was huge. Anytime a kid … and they know the pressure when they’re up there. When they come through like that, that boosted their confidence and that’s what it’s all about,” Armuchee coach David Honea said.
“I told them after the ball game ‘guys, you can look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘yes I can.’ Yes I can do anything.”
Along with timely hitting, the Indians benefited from a complete-game performance from junior hurler Jacob Farmer.
He pitched eight innings, giving up three runs, scattering five hits and throwing 99 pitches to grab the victory.
Although Farmer got touched for three runs in the third inning, Honea felt his starter would persevere.
“He’s a junior and has a lot of experience on the mound,” said Honea.
“It was his turn in the rotation to throw today and you know every time he steps on the mound I feel good about our situation, if we can help him out on the other side with offense.
“I’m proud of the way he threw the ball today,” he added. “He settled down after they got a few hits off him and kept them off-balance.”
The Blue Devils’ bats came alive in the bottom of the third.
Cole Oliver put the Devils on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Matthew Banks.
Center fielder Drew Dempsey then crushed an 0-1 pitch to middle center field for a double, scoring Griff McGuire and Alan Holmes, staking the Blue Devils to a 3-1 lead.
“On the offense, we had several seniors step up that inning and come up with some clutch hits,” Model coach Brett White said. “You know, we swung the bat decently, we put the ball in play for the most part.
“So it’s just finding holes and hitting them where they’re not.”
Model led from the third to the seventh inning and for the most part limited the Indians’ scoring opportunities.
Armuchee managed to only have one runner reach base after Model took the lead until the one-out rally in the seventh inning.
“Yeah they managed to come back on us, and we’re still walking too many guys,” Whitt said.
“I think they scored three runs on walks. So we’ve got to make them put the ball in play and let the defense work behind us.”
The Indians got on the board to start the game as Wilson singled to right field, driving in C.J. Lawson, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The win moved the Indians’ record to 2-5 on the season while Model fell to 2-2.
Both coaches and players seemed to enjoy playing the game at the home of the Class A Rome Braves. White inserted numerous players throughout the game, giving them a chance to play.
“You know for some of these guys this is a once in a lifetime chance to play on a field this nice,” he said.
“They work hard every day at practice, and they deserve the opportunity to get out here and play on a field of this magnitude with the people here in attendance, that’s big for them.”
Honea also said he enjoyed the whole experience.
“I’m just proud of the way we responded back today,” he said.
“Playing in this atmosphere as well, it’s something I always look forward to. I know this is only the second year we’ve done it, but I look forward to it as the kids do,” he said.
“I’m glad we came out today and played good enough to win.”
Offensively, Wilson led the way for the Blue Devils going 1-for-2 with two RBIs and reaching base three times overall.
For Armuchee, Chad Wilson went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBIs, including the game-winning run for the Indians.
Will Phillips went 1-for-1 with two RBIs.