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Blue Ridge eliminates Broome in a thriller

By Alex Love, Staff Reporter
Published on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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Jacob Wilbanks hit a home run in the fourth inning to give Blue Ridge a 1-0 lead.
 

Alison Gosnell

Jacob Wilbanks hit a home run in the fourth inning to give Blue Ridge a 1-0 lead.

 



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Zach Waddell pitched three shutout innings, moved to second base and helped execute the game-ending double play.
 

Alison Gosnell

Zach Waddell pitched three shutout innings, moved to second base and helped execute the game-ending double play.

 



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A low pitch is taken by a Broome batter.
 

Alison Gosnell

A low pitch is taken by a Broome batter.

 



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A face full of dirt was worth being safe on this play.
 
 
 

Alison Gosnell

A face full of dirt was worth being safe on this play.

 

 

 



Photo gallery by Alison Gosnell

Jacob Wilbanks hit a home run and Ethan Few held Broome in check in the dramatic final inning Wednesday night as Blue Ridge advanced to the championship game of the District II Class AAA baseball playoffs.

Blue Ridge eliminated Broome 3-2 and needed a game-ending double play with the tying run on third base.

Blue Ridge travels to Seneca for a 6 p.m. game Friday. A Blue Ridge win forces a second championship game on Friday night. The Tigers fell to Seneca last Monday at The Ridge, 4-1.

Broome had runners on first and third with two out in the top of the seventh inning. Jon Bolin’s ground ball was fielded by third baseman Jon Coker who threw to Zach Waddell at second base for the second out and his throw to first baseman Colby Thomas got Bolin out to complete the double play.

“It’s something we work on every day at practice,” Waddell said. “There’s no better way to finish the game than like that. I called Jon to get the double play because ever since we practiced it I thought we had it down.”

“For Jon Coker it was a tough decision because if you throw home that’s a tying run and you’ve got to have confidence you’ll make it,” Blue Ridge Head Coach Travis Henson said. “He had the confidence to throw to second for the double out and risk the run getting home to tie the game on an error. But Zach and Colby made great catches and those are the kind of plays you see in playoff games.”

Senior Jacob Wilbanks hit his second home run of the season to put the Tigers on the scoreboard in the fourth inning.

“It feels so good. We needed a spark and I’m happy I’m the one who could do it,” Wilbanks said. “It was a curve ball. I just tried to hit where the ball came in and I made them pay for it.”

Bryce Spurrier scored the second run for Blue Ridge and Few scored what proved to be the winning run in the fourth inning.

“The fans were treated to a great game tonight and I’d like to thank them for all the support because they help make this happen,” Henson said. “They show up not just in numbers, but noise too. Our guys are hungry and when you lose a ballgame you realize how hungry our guys are and their desire to win a ball game.”

 

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