2009-05-11 / Sports

The Comeback Kids

By LARRY HILLIARD Ledger Sports Editor larry@gaffneyledger.com

Photo by LARRY HILLIARD Josh Mata (catcher's gear) celebrates with his teammates after beating Dorman 6-5 in the upper state tournament on Saturday. Photo by LARRY HILLIARD Josh Mata (catcher's gear) celebrates with his teammates after beating Dorman 6-5 in the upper state tournament on Saturday. Forget pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the Gaffney High baseball team is perfecting another magic trick by making opponents' leads disappear.

The Indians, who overcome three late-game deficits in the district playoffs, rallied from four runs down to beat visiting Dorman, 6-5, Saturday in the first round of the upper state playoffs. The Indians host Boiling Springs, which beat Spartanburg, today at 7 p.m. If they can beat the Bulldogs, the Indians would play for the upper state championship on Friday.

But Gaffney coach Jeff Osment was in no mood to look ahead, rather he was relishing his team's resiliency.

"The kids are just believing in themselves," Osment said. "Everbody on the team is contributing."

There was not so much as a pinch of panic even when the Indians fell behind 5-1. The Indians remained calm with a palpable air of confidence.

No wonder. The Indians have been in the position before.

"Just like in the other games we trailed, we were able to withhold their rally," Osment said. "We came out and scored a run and the momentum seemed to shift in the third inning."

But it was all Cavaliers early on when Jake Kirkland socked a threerun homer in the first inning. Dorman added a solo run in the second to go up 4-0.

The Indians cut the deficit to 4-1 with a run in the second but the Cavaliers answered to regain a 4-run lead in the top of the third.

It stayed that way until the fourth when the Indians sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring four times off Dorman starter Stefan Del Pino to tie it up. Bubba Wright started the rally by reaching on an error. After John Michaels walked, McCrae Norton continued his clutch hitting with a ringing double that brought in two runs.

Josh Mata then delivered a single to score Norton and pull the Indians within 5-4.

Tyler Wilson's double moved pinchrunner Bradley Ruppe to third before he scored on Michael Hughey's single to knot the game at 5.

It didn't stay that way long. In the bottom of the fifth, Michaels legged out an infield single, moved to third on Norton's double and scored on Cameron Culp's fly to center field.

It was up to Culp, who started off shaky on the mound, to finish off the Cavaliers. He did just that, retiring the last eight batters he faced, including three on strikeouts.

10A

"Cameron was missing his spots early, but he just kept on battling," Osment said.

Return to top

Special Sections

Poll

Who do you support for Cherokee County Sheriff?