Sandy Creek rallies for win over McIntosh

Sandy Creek rallies for win over McIntosh

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Vince Bartolomei (left) and Chase Walter (right) dueled for Sandy Creek and McIntosh, but the game would come down to the bullpen. (Photos by Michael Clifton / www.kombatkamera.com)

maclifton031016021hdrby Russell Cooks

TJ Peavy led the Sandy Creek Patriots to a ninth inning 8-7 victory over the McIntosh Chiefs Thursday night. Down by four runs in the bottom of the ninth, Peavy showed the patience of Job as he grinded out a 10-pitch walk to start the Patriot rally and later was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run. The win moved Sandy Creek’s record to 3-5 as they get set to start region play next week.
The sports facilities at Sandy Creek High School are located on “Champion Way” The name of the street comes from the overwhelming success of the Sandy Creek Football Program, as they won 3-out-of 4 state championships between 2009 and 2012. However, there’s a movement going on at the Creek to show the world that Sandy Creek is more than just a football school. The miraculous victory is the Sandy Creek Baseball Patriots latest contribution to the movement.
The game pitted summer league teammates Chase Walter of McIntosh and Cole Jackson of Sandy Creek against each other. They both play for the Homeplate Chili Dogs, and Jackson had a super game. However, the star of the game for Sandy Creek was junior pitcher Vince Bartolomei. Bartolomei pitched six innings and gave up no earned runs. He had 13 strikeouts and carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning.
Cole Jackson got things started in the bottom of the first inning as he drew a walk. Speedster Kaleb Slaughter came in as a courtesy runner for Jackson and quickly stole second base. He scored on a double by Parker Mallett to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead.
Bartolomei contributed to his own cause as he led off the second inning with a line drive single. Freshman Judah Johnson was the courtesy runner for Bartolomei, stealing second base and advancing to third on a single by Andrew Hughes. Johnson raced home on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.
Thomas Farr led off with a single in the fourth inning. Drew Darcy made it to second on a throwing error, then TJ Peavy singled to bring Farr home to make it 3-0.
McIntosh got on the scoreboard when Garrett Stewart reached on an error and later crossed home.
Down to their last outs, the Chiefs struck in the top of the seventh. Mitch Maxwell and Jacob Cole drew walks, including a free pass to Cole where the Patriots twice thought they had a strikeout, as they stared down a two-run deficit with two out.
Van Neeley came up to bat with runners at first and second, setting up an epic battle between Neeley and pitcher Matthew Barrow. After fouling off a number of pitches, Neeley connected on a triple to tie the score at three all and force extra innings.
Sandy Creek had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth, but had a runner called out at the plate.
McIntosh thought they had the game one with a big top half of the ninth, an error loading up the bases. The Chiefs scored their first run on a wild pitch, then added another on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3. Drew Plant hit a line drive double put McIntosh in front 7-3.
Sandy Creek entered the bottom of the ninth down by four runs. TJ Peavy came to the plate and masterfully fought through 10 pitches to earn a walk as a down Sandy Creek crowd started to come alive. Peavy stole second, and Jarred Kent hit a line drive to third basement and his speed forced a throwing error. Peavy scored on the play, and Kent advanced to second before stealing third and scoring on a wild pitch to pull back within 7-5.
Cole Jackson hit a line drive single and got into scoring position with a steal. Kaleb Slaughter came in as a pinch hitter and reached on a dropped third strike. Jackson swiped third and scored on a pass ball, and Slaughter advanced to third on the play.
With the score 7-6, the stadium was buzzing as what seemed like an insurmountable lead by McIntosh was now within reach.
Thomas Farr scorched a single to score Slaughter and tie the game up, before Andrew Hughes got hit by a pitch to give Sandy Creek runners on first and second with two outs. Drew Dorsey hit a single to load the bases.
TJ Peavy came back to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs as Sandy Creek has batted around and the guy who started the rally got a shot to win the game. Peavy got plunked on the hand, forcing home the winning run in an 8-7 Patriot victory.
“All we could do was hope for a miracle. We had to have faith and believe in God and believe in our teammates,” said Peavy, who didn’t shy away from the opportunity to win it for his team. “I played with confidence. All you can do is pray to God and give it your best.”
The Patriots hope the win is a big momentum builder. “Trust in your teammates to make plays. Never give up,” were the keys, according to Cole Jackson. “This win is a great start as we get ready to start region play next week.”
The Patriots will open region play with a three-game series against Whitewater next week starting on Tuesday at Sandy Creek. The teams will play at Whitewater on Wednesday and return to Sandy Creek for the final game Thursday.

Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.