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Buffalo plates four ninth inning runs, breaking scoreless tie to defeat Man 4-1, force winner-take-all sectional final

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports


MAN  Jon Alderman’s two-run single in the ninth inning broke a scoreless tie and propelled third-seed Buffalo to a 4-1 win over top-seed and 10th-ranked Man in the Class A Region IV Section 1 tournament Monday evening at William “Tootie” Carter Athletic Field.


Cole Richardson scored on a balk and Alderman scored on a wild pitch to finish a four-run ninth inning for Buffalo, who fought off elimination and forced a winner-take-all sectional championship game Tuesday evening at Man.


Richardson struck out nine and allowed just one hit in 8 2/3 innings to earn the win. Alderman earned the save after throwing one pitch in the ninth.


Man starting pitcher Bo Thompson allowed four runs – two earned – in eight plus innings on the mound. Thompson gave up seven hits, struck out 10 and walked two in defeat. At the plate, Thompson had two hits including a double and scored Man’s only run on a throwing error in the bottom of the ninth.


Alderman and Caiden Craig each had two hits for Buffalo, who improved to 19-11-1 with the win.


Craig led off the ninth inning with a double and Carson Saunders followed with a single. A walk to Richardson loaded the bases for Alderman, who laced a 0-1 pitch into left field scoring Craig and Saunders for a 2-0 lead.


Brady Kidd, Saunders, and Luca Signorini each had one hit for the Bison.


Man, who fell to 18-10 with the loss, had scoring opportunities in the first and sixth innings.


Gavyn Cline reached base on a passed after striking out and Thompson singled to give Man runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the first. Richardson got Braxton Messer to fly out to right and Cam Gerace stepped to the plate with two outs looking to give Man an early lead.


Gerace had what appeared to be a bloop single in left center that would have scored Cline from second base, however, center fielder Bryce Downey made a driving catch to end the inning and keep Man off the scoreboard.


In the bottom of the sixth, Landon Cantrell led off the sixth with a single to center, stole second and was sacrificed to third base when Cline laid down a perfect bunt. With one out and the heart of the Hillbillies lineup coming to the plate, it would appear that the Hillbillies were in position to score the game’s first runs.


Once again, Richardson got out of a one out jam by getting Thompson to foul out to first base and got Messer to fly out to end the sixth.


Hunter Gibson singled with one out in the eighth inning and Cantrell followed with a line drive that many thought was a sure double, but third basemen Evan Panaro made a leaping catch and fired to first base to double up Gibson and end the eighth.


Thompson doubled with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Messer was hit by the pitch and Thompson came around to score on a throwing error as Gerace reached base on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 4-1.


Following a two out to Haney, Richardson was relieved by Alderman, who threw just one pitch, and got Gavin Bartram to ground out to end the game.


Thompson had two hits and Cantrell, Gerace, Gibson and Haney each had one hit for the Hillbillies.


Tuesday’s winner will advance to next week’s best of three Class A Region IV championship series. A Man win and the Hillbillies would host game one and if necessary game three. A win by Buffalo and the Bison will travel to either Ravenswood or fourth-ranked Gilmer County.



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