The Falcons (6-1, 4-0) pounded out eight hits and took advantage of aggressive base running and two Union walks to take a 6-2 district win over the Bears at Buster Taylor Field.
“I was proud of our kids scrapping and battling and to find a way to get some runs in,” said Abingdon coach Mark Francisco. “They came out and played with a little more energy in the first couple of innings than we did, but I was proud of the way our kids responded, and it was a good game between two pretty baseball teams.”
After losing many players to graduation last year, Abingdon started six sophomores, including pitcher Chase Hungate, who picked up a complete-game win.
Hungate gave up two runs while scattering seven hits and recording four strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
“Chase did a good job of mixing up his pitches and keeping them off balance. They had a few hits off of him, but he was able to work around them, and our defense played pretty well,” said Francisco. “It’s a tough district and we’re young. It’s just a different approach this year. We’re having to fight and scrap our way, but I’m blessed with a bunch of really good kids who love the game and work hard.”
With the win, Abingdon stayed a game ahead of John Battle and two games ahead of Gate City and Union in the loss column in the district standings.
Union (5-3, 2-2) led 2-1 after three innings, but Abingdon turned the game around in the fourth and fifth frames.
The Falcons scored two runs in the fourth, then added three runs in the fifth.
With two outs, senior T.J. Taylor delivered an RBI single to right field to give Abingdon its first run in the fifth.
Taylor finished 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Hungate then drilled a pitch to the right side of the infield to deliver two runs.
Union never seemed to recover from the big fifth inning for Abingdon.
“We sort of lost our composure there a little bit after that, and I told them they don’t lose their composure,” Union coach David Wyrick said. “But it’s learning and it’s baseball. And coach Francisco does a great, and I have great respect for him both as a person and as a coach.”
In addition to his strong game on the mound, Hungate finished 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, while Jake Thacker was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI for Abingdon.
Union picked up seven hits, but Mason Caldwell and Landry Baker accounted for five.
Caldwell finished 3-for-4 and scored two runs, while Baker was 2-for-3.
Nate Bailey and Brandon Bunch each had an RBI.
Union is scheduled to host Sullivan North Friday, while Abingdon is off until Tuesday, when the Falcons will face Gate City at Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport.