By Jerob Moon- Sports Information
YORK- The Piedmont Pride advance to the SCBL Championship Series for the second straight year, with a 5-4 win over the Carolina Vipers tonight. Game Three was tightly contested, with three lead changes and two ties.
“When you look at how we won this game tonight, we took care of the little things, in close ballgames that’s what happens,” Coach Joe Hudak said. “It was really a team effort. If I look back at the box score pitch by pitch, everybody would have contributed offensively or defensively in the win. It was a great game and a great win.
The Pride scored first with a RBI single by Roury Glanton. After the Vipers scored two runs in the third, the Pride answered with a run in the fourth and fifth on RBI singles by Jake Wright and Joe Campagna.
The difference in the game was in the bottom of the seventh when the Pride scored two runs to break the tie and take a 5-3 lead. Jake Wright reached base after getting hit by a pitch in the head and later came around to score the go-ahead run on a single by Zach Shank. The next batter, Hayden Smith, singled and scored Shank from third.
Starter Zach English, who was saved by Joe Hudak for this elimination game, pitched great. English pitched seven innings, giving up four runs, and striking out five. English’s seven innings was the longest a starter pitched for the Pride this series.
Enrique Perez, normally a starter for the Pride, came into the game in the eighth inning in relief. With the tying run for the Vipers on third and only one out in the eighth, Perez struck out the next two batters to end the threat. Perez took the mound again in the ninth and retired the Viper batters in order to earn the save.
“I told Enrique before the game that some point we were going to need him,” Coach Hudak commented. “It just goes to show you, he had a really bad outing against this team on Tuesday against the Vipers, but he pitched well in a tough situation tonight. Striking out two Viper batters back to back with the tying run on third base was really huge, and I was happy for him.
The rematch is set – Pride vs Bones for the SCBL Championship. The Pride seek their first championship and revenge against the Bones, who beat the Pride in three games in last year’s championship series.
Coach Hudak knows it will be a good matchup, but he’s proud of his guys no matter the outcome. “I’m real proud of this group, we’ve had so many injuries and so many setbacks this summer. And to make it to the championship series is a real testament to this club.”
Game One will take place on the road at Charlotte Christian High School on Friday at 7 pm.