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Baker launches 2-run shot, Union edges Grayson

By DARRELL ELY, Sports Correspondent • May 28, 2019 at 1:14 AM

BIG STONE GAP — Senior Landry Baker’s two-out, two-run home run in the third inning capped a four-run frame and Union upended Grayson County 5-3 in the Region 2D baseball quarterfinals Monday at Buster Taylor Field.

Baker’s blast came after Union took a 2-1 lead against Grayson County hurler Shawn Campbell earlier in the inning.

A Virginia-Wise commit, Campbell surrendered his first hit of the game when Noah Bolling reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning. After a walk and a hit batter, Union senior pitcher Hunter Anderson stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Anderson grounded to shortstop and after the Blue Devils recorded an out at second, an errant throw on an attempted double play allowed Mason Caldwell to follow Bolling to the plate with a second run.

On a night of missed opportunities, Grayson County failed to score in the first inning despite loading the bases and although the visitors took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the third, a double play prevented further damage.

Anderson worked out of another jam via strikeout with two on and two out in the fourth and wiggled out of a second two-on, two-out scenario in the fifth by coaxing a groundout.

Undeterred, the Blue Devils battled back in the sixth. Nate Bailey struck out Kyler Lewis to begin the frame, but Zane Cox singled and Jake Hollingsworth was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with just one out.

Andrew Shafner then laced a single to load the bases. Campbell got credited with an RBI when an error allowed a run to score and keep the bases loaded. Chase Pope then worked a walk on a 3-2 count to cut the Union lead to 4-3.

With the bases loaded and still just one out, Bailey went to work. The senior fanned Cal Campbell looking before getting Levi Johnson to pop up a high fastball to end the threat.

“It was not poetic,” said Union skipper David Wyrick. “Bailey gave us the number of outs we needed and we will take them any way we can get them.”

The Bears picked up some insurance in the home half of the sixth. With two out, senior pinch-hitter Brandon Bunch singled to plate Brody Gibson, who had singled and stole second.

In the seventh, the Blue Devils brought the tying run to the plate following a two-out walk by Zane Cox, but Cam Bartee came out of the bullpen and struck out Hollingsworth to end the game.

Grayson stranded 13 baserunners, including leaving the bases loaded twice. Shafner and Campbell had two hits each to pace a six-hit effort, and Campbell struck out 10 in a complete-game effort.

Union had just five hits, but they were big. The Bears scored three of their five runs with two outs and received hits out of five batters in the lineup.

Anderson surrendered just one run in five innings. He fanned six, scattered four hits and walked three for the win.

The clutch play of the Union seniors, specifically Anderson, was not lost on the team’s coach.

“We have fine seniors, they are going to lead us,” Wyrick said. “Anderson has not pitched a whole lot but the more he has thrown the better has been.”

The Bears moved on to Wednesday’s regional semifinals at John Battle. Union is scheduled to play Lebanon at 7 p.m. following the John Battle-Virginia High game.