GRAYSON — Chandler Amason wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning as Grayson hung on the defeat Chattahoochee 5-4 in Game 2, sweeping the first-round Class AAAAAA state baseball series.
After Julian Dawson retired the leadoff batter, Grayson head coach Jed Hixson called upon Amason to clinch the win. But Amason quickly found trouble. After Zach Huet was hit by a pitch, consecutive singles moved the potential winning run into scoring position. Amason then induced a fly ball to the outfield, but Huet decided not to challenge the arm of right fielder David Stinson, who made a strong throw to the plate.
Amason retired the next batter on a ground ball to seal the victory and a sweep, thanks to a 2-1 win in Game 1.
Stinson also impacted the game earlier defensively when he gunned down Scott Witt at the plate in the fourth inning to preserve a 4-3 Rams lead.
“Not only was it a beautiful throw, but (Colton) Harrelson behind the plate has done a phenomenal job all year defensively in making tag plays,” said Hixson. “In the last four or five games there has been a play at the plate. It’s tough to hang in there and play those scoops. It’s such a momentum thing. Not only is it an out, but it’s an out that would have been a run. It was such a turning point.”
Grayson took the lead with a couple of runs in the top of the first by Scott Witt and Andrew Falgiano before Chattahoochee tied it in the bottom of the third. Grayson countered when Chase Brice singled sharply to center to drive home Cody Helton to give the Rams a 5-3 lead in the fifth. Chattahoochee answered with a run in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to one, but that was as close as the Cougars would get.
“I’m just glad the guys hung in there because there were some mistakes and missed opportunities where they could have lost their focus,” said Hixson. “We let them off the hook a few times and they let us off the hook, but we kept battling. Both ball games it was a case of not doing the little things well. We have to do a better job because its especially important in playoff baseball and against quality teams.”
In Game 1, Stinson went 2-for-3 and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth as Grayson slipped past Chattahoochee 2-1.
Stinson opened the sixth inning with a single to right and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Bryant Chandler. Two batters later, Helton grounded to the Chattahoochee third baseman, but the throw to first was wild and Stinson scampered home to give the Rams a 2-1 lead.
Grayson drew first blood in the bottom on the third when Stinson’s first hit drove in Scott Witt for a 1-0 Rams lead. The score held until the top of the fifth when Chattahoochee’s Michael Dibrell singled to drive home Mario Leone to knot the score at 1-1.
Drew Buschman scattered 7 hits over 6 1/3 innings to earn the Game 1 win for the Rams, who garnered only three hits during the game. Tyler King struck out the final two Cougars batters to save the win.
“He’s been one of our main guys all year,” Hixson said of Buschman. “A second-team all-county kid who has done a great job. And tonight he gave us the opportunity to win even though we didn’t do a lot offensively. That’s what you ask for out of a starting pitcher.”