In the opener of a doubleheader on Saturday at Borden Community Park, host Borden took a major step toward a Southern Athletic Conference championship with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Class A No. 8 South Central. Only the first game of the doubleheader counted in the conference standings.
In the nightcap, the Braves found out that they still have some work to do to knock off the three-time defending sectional champion Rebels and win this year’s Class A South Central Sectional. Borden blew an early 4-1 lead in Game 2 and lost to the Rebels, 7-5.
The Braves (7-6, 2-0) had a productive day at the plate with 19 hits, but they struggled defensively with a combined seven errors, while South Central (10-6, 1-1) only committed one.
“We kept giving them extra outs and we really can’t do that against a team that good. We were lucky to get away with one [victory],” Borden coach Brian Agnew said. “It’s going to be a battle for us to win the conference and the sectional. It’s going to take everything we have.”
GAME 1: BORDEN 7, SOUTH CENTRAL 6
Trailing 6-3, the Braves began their rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two out, right fielder David Vansant drilled a double off Rebels’ starter Nate Shaffer that hit the left-field fence. The two-bagger knocked in Garrett Vick from third base to cut Borden’s deficit to two runs.
After South Central failed to score in the top of the seventh, Borden finished its rally with three runs in the bottom half.
Shaffer allowed a leadoff walk to Borden’s No. 9 hitter, Sam Beckort. Shaffer then got pulled by Rebels’ coach Brian McKnight for reliever Nick Veith.
But Veith could not hold the Braves. He walked Brian McGee and then made a wild pitch to advance McGee and Beckort to second and third, respectively.
Borden’s Josh Vollstedt then tied the contest at six with a two-run double to right-center field. Then Braves’ junior Kyle Kruer ended the game with a walk-off double to deep center to drive in Vollstedt for the game-winning score.
Vollstedt wound up 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Vick was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored, while McGee went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Kruer pitched all seven innings to improve his record to 4-1. Of the six runs he surrendered, only one was earned. Kruer gave up seven hits and one walk while striking out eight.
“It took Kruer and a big inning to get it down against them in the first game,” Agnew said. “Vansant’s double [in the sixth] was huge in pulling us within two. We needed every one of [those doubles]. But we waited almost too long to get that done.”
For the Rebels, Austin Knear was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a run scored, and Veith was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Shaffer threw six-plus innings, yielding five runs (all earned) on eight hits. He recorded five strikeouts, walked two and hit one batter.