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Pike County sweeps Buford in AA playoffs

ZEBULON -- The Buford Wolves saw their baseball season come to an end in the Sweet 16 round of the Class AA playoffs on Wednesday night as the Pike County Pirates proved to be too much to handle in a sweep of the Wolves, 7-2 and 5-4.

Despite a dominating 10-strikeout performance from Game 1 pitcher Josh Heddinger, Buford (20-9) found itself on the losing end as the Pirates (24-5) were carried by three home runs.

Unlike the Pirates, Buford saw limited offensive production in the opening game loss as the Wolves' managed just two runs on five hits. Woody Ciepiela opened the scoring up in the top of the second inning while Brian Clark scored the second and final Buford run of the game in the top of the fifth inning.

Game 2 proved to be the more exciting game of the night as the Wolves and Pirates swapped punches throughout the game, though the Pirates delivered the final punch of the night.

The Pirates started the scoring in the top of the first inning as Chris Long connected a one-out, two-run home run to give Pike County an early 2-0 lead.

Buford quickly responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning as Dylan Stowe crossed home plate after leading the inning off with a double. Pike County regained the lead, 3-1, with a run in the top of the fourth inning before Buford answered with two gametying runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

After a Justin Guy RBI single in the top of the sixth inning for Pike County, Buford answered in the bottom of the inning with a game-tying RBI double.

Pike County added the final runs of the contest in the top of the seventh inning as Blake Edwards drove in the game-winning run in the form of Kaleb Lynch to make the score 5-4.

Buford runners struggled on the bases as the Pirates caught the Wolves with five pickoff moves on the day.

With the losses, pitcher Josh Heddinger's record fell to 3-2 on the season while senior Eric Eck's dropped to 7-2.

Pike County advances to the Elite Eight of the playoffs and will face south Georgia powerhouse Cook County.