ATLANTA - Despite its Class AA state baseball championship last year, Holy Innocents' had still never beaten rival Wesleyan.
Now the Gold Bears have done that, too.
Holy Innocents' - ranked No. 1 in the GaSports.com coaches poll - scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the No. 3 Wolves 4-3 in a Region 6-AA showdown Saturday.
"It really feels good to finally beat Wesleyan," Holy Innocents' coach Dylan Deal said. "They are such a good baseball program."
Until two miscues in the final inning, it looked like Wesleyan was going to defeat Holy Innocents' again even without pitching ace Grayson Garvin.
Wolves coach Mike Shaheen elected to pitch Vanderbilt signee Garvin on Thursday against Walker and Tuesday against No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian, rather than use him just against the defending state champions.
"I had to make a choice and I'd rather settle for going 2-1 instead of risking going 0-3," Shaheen said.
Garvin did his part with a 17-strikeout no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Walker and Devin Stanton pitched three scoreless innings against Holy Innocents'.
"We got good pitching," Shaheen said. "But we didn't hit like we can and we didn't field like we normally do when it counted."
After Kevin Ruiz had given Wesleyan (5-3 overall and 1-1 in 6-AA) the lead with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, the Wolves self-destructed in the last of the seventh inning.
Ruiz moved in from right field in hopes of saving the win. Instead, he took the loss.
It was hardly all his fault.
Wills Aitkens doubled off the left-field wall on his first pitch and Daniel Blaustein dribbled his second pitch to first base, where Garvin booted it. Then usually sure-handed shortstop Conner Winn kicked a grounder by Bentley Heyman, allowing the tying run to score.
Ben Tucker came in for one batter, but walked cleanup-hitter Mark Grimm to load the bases.
Still with no outs, Ruiz returned to the mound and Fletcher Hawkins won the game on a hard single to left field as Holy Innocents' improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in 6-AA.
"We just didn't close the deal," Shaheen said.
A bigger lead would have helped.
Wesleyan left the bases loaded in the first inning, when it scored a run on Ben Tucker's RBI single, and stranded three others runners at third base, including in the top of the seventh.
Holy Innocents' took the lead in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Jack Ferrell off Drew Fithian in the fourth inning, but Wesleyan quickly went back on top in the fifth on Ruiz's two-run blast off Grimm.
Grimm, the Holy Innocents' ace, worked six innings, throwing 92 pitches. The left-hander allowed all seven Wesleyan hits, struck out four and walked two.
Wesleyan, which is shorthanded on the mound with Brooks Colquitt sidelined because of a sore elbow, used five pitchers.
Ruiz, a Georgia signee, had a single and a walk to go with his home run, while James Ramsey, who is going to Florida State, had two walks and a single for Wesleyan.
Holy Innocents', though, took advantage of the untimely errors in the seventh inning to pull out the victory.
"We had some comeback wins like this," Deal said. "But to pull it off against Wesleyan makes it really sweet."