Buford wins, stays alive

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Jackets down Landrum, face Lions today

By Ernie Rowell

Buford was down, but not out in the Class A Upper State baseball championship series Monday night in an elimination game with Landrum High School at Buford Park.

Landrum, up 7-2 and six outs away from advancing, saw Buford charge in its final two at-bats to pull out a thrilling 8-7 win and advance in the Class A Upper State title tournament. The win sends BHS, 13-11, to face Lewisville in a 6 p.m. elimination game today.

 The winner faces Chesterfield on Friday, needing two wins to take the Class A Upper State championship and a bid to the state title game.

Chesterfield edged Lewisville 6-5 Monday. CHS defeated Buford 11-1 on Saturday in an opening round game.

“We did a good job of battling with our backs to the wall,” BHS coach Eric Funderburk said. “We were patient at the plate and did what we had to do.”

In the BHS seventh with Landrum up 7-6, Ricky Lewis and Joseph Wright each singled and after an out, Dillon Hydrick walked to load the bases.

Then, without a hit, BHS scored as Britt Wells was hit by a pitch to force home Wright to tie the game at 7-all.

After a force at the plate, Donald Kirkley drew a bases-loaded walk to score Hydrick and lift BHS to the exciting one-run win.

“We hung in there and fought back,” Funderburk said. “We made every pitch count.”

Colt Ellis, who worked 1.2 innings, was the winner, allowing no runs, three hits and two walks. He struck out two.

Landrum, thanks to a five-run sixth inning, forged a 7-2 lead, but the comeback-minded Jackets answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

Ellis and Wells drilled back-to-back RBI-doubles to make it a 7-4 game. Wells later scored on a passed ball to slice the Landrum lead to 7-5.

Jackets senior center fielder Gavin Flynn, who led the BHS offense with three hits, singled home a run to make it 7-6.

Ellis, in relief of Justin Altman, then blanked the Cardinals and BHS answered with its clutch two runs to seal the comeback win.

Flynn led the BHS attack with three hits and drove in a run. Wells had two hits and drove in two runs. Wright supplied two hits.

Ricky Lewis, Kirkley and Ellis each had a hit and drove in a run. Altman added a RBI.

Altman, the BHS starter, allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks. He fanned four.

Buford, the Class A District IV champion, scored a run in the third inning as Ricky Lewis squeezed home a run to make it 2-1.

BHS tied the game in the fifth as Altman pushed home the  run on a fielder’s choice.

Landrum went up 7-2 with five in the sixth, but BHS responded with four runs in the sixth and a pair in the seventh inning to secure the win and keep its season and playoff hopes alive.

“We rolled over Saturday against Chesterfield, but not tonight,” Funderburk said. “We have a resilient group of determined players.”