MACON — Hebron Christian showed plenty of comeback ability during its Class A (Private) state baseball semifinal doubleheader at Tattnall Square on Tuesday.
The Lions rallied from five runs down in Game 1 score a come-from-behind 9-8 victory, and managed to tie Game 2 twice to force extra innings, but couldn’t pull off a third comeback as the host Trojans scored four runs in the ninth to earn the split with a 7–3 win.
The two teams will square off in a third and deciding game Thursday at 6 p.m. with a trip to the state championship series in Savannah on the line.
“These were two great ball games,” Hebron coach Ben Drust said. “We came in (to Game 1) facing a (Tattnall Square) pitcher who had a 0.45 ERA. … It was great for us to be able to do that and to watch our guys work hard.”
Hebron (20-15-1) got plenty of offense in Game 1 after spotting Tattnall Square a 7-2 lead in the early inning by scoring seven runs in the top of the sixth.
Jackson Boyd had three hits, while Max Bennett, Jackson Hackney and Jaiden Stowers added two hits apiece.
Boyd also pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit to earn the save in relief of Mason Ashby, who got the win by scattering four earned runs over five innings.
In the nightcap, the Lions trailed early again, this time 2-0, but scored one in the fifth when Boyd drew a bases-loaded walk and got another in the sixth when Jack Ihm laid down a safety squeeze bunt to tie the game at 2-all.
Then after Tattnall took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, Hebron pulled even again on yet another safety squeeze bunt, this one by Stowers.
But the Trojans came up with four runs in the ninth to force a Game 3 despite seven strong innings from Lions starter Nathan Alexander, who gave up just there hits and two earned runs with eight strikeouts.