The Valdosta Daily Times
Open Bible scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, and defeated Appling Christian 4-1 on Tuesday.
It was a big region victory for the Warrior baseball team. Open Bible (13-1) is now tied for first in its region with Appling Christian.
“A good day,” Open Bible head coach John Joye said. “It was a big win. It ties us for the region.
“It was a battle. It was back and forth. The pitching on both sides was real good (and) our defense was good. ... The boys battled for five innings, and then they finished in the sixth and the seventh.”
The game was tied 1-1 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the sixth. That’s when the Warriors came alive on offense. Cleanup hitter Nathan Infante lined a single into right field. Caleb Bowden followed with a single to center, and Infante went to third. Matthew Infante, one of the Warriors’ leading hitters, was coming to the plate, but the Eagles had no intention of giving him a chance to beat them. So they intentionally walked him, which loaded the bases.
At that point, Joye went to his bench and sent up Will Krivachek to pinch hit. Krivachek worked a full count, then Bryce Livingston’s 3-2 pitch was high for ball four, and Nathan Infante jogged home to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.
“Matthew’s probably batting .500 for the year, so they do the right thing walking him. We pinch hit (Will), who’s a first-year player, but he’s a free swinger (who) usually puts the ball in play. (Will had) a great at-bat, got to a full count and took the walk,” Joye said.
Then the Warriors caught a big break. After a pitch to Luke Hannon, Matthew Infante got too far off of second base, and Appling catcher Andrew Phillips tried to get him out by throwing to second. But instead, Phillips’ throw went into center field. Bowden ran home, and Matthew Infante came home right behind him. That gave Open Bible a 4-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
In the seventh, Open Bible starter John William Worsley hit the leadoff batter with a pitch. At that point, Joye brought in Nathan Infante to pitch, and the senior left-hander closed the door. He got the first two batters to pop up, then retired the final hitter on a fly ball to center fielder Marlon Barrera.
For most of the game, it was a pitcher’s duel between Worsley and Livingston. Worsley held Appling to one run and three hits in six-plus innings, and struck out two. The top five hitters in the Eagles’ lineup were a combined 1 for 12, and that one hit was a bunt single.
“Really good pitching by John William. Great job by him,” Joye said. “John William is a great competitor. He loves the game. (He) went and did the job on the mound.”
Livingston allowed four runs, two earned, and seven hits in six innings, and struck out six.
Appling Christian took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Daniel Beasley walked to start the game. Livingston laid down a bunt and beat the throw to first. The two runners moved up on a wild pitch. Then Rex Cox hit a long fly ball that was caught a few feet from the left field fence. Beasley tagged up, and ran home to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Open Bible tied the score with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Worsley lined a single to right and moved to third when Nathan Infante followed with another single to right. Then Livingston uncorked a wild pitch, and Worsley took off for home. He slid across the plate ahead of the tag, tying the score at 1-1.
The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth, when Open Bible scored three runs and took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Nathan Infante was the only player on either team to record more than one hit, going 2 for 3. He also picked up the save on the mound.
Open Bible will host People's Baptist on Friday at 4 p.m.