The Bunn Wildcats advanced to the semi-finals of the Tarboro Easter Baseball Classic with a victory over the Padua Franciscan Bruins from Parma, Ohio on Wednesday in the opening game of the tournament by the score of 10-9. After three innings of play Bunn found themselves leading Padua by the score of 8-0. Pitcher Christian Sledge was cruising along after those three innings, only allowing three innocent singles. Bunn had scored a single run in the first on a Sledge home run, then erupted for five runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. They came back with two more runs in the bottom of the third to take a commanding 8-0 lead.
Things quickly turned around in the top of the fourth inning for Padua. The Bruins sent fourteen batters to the plate in the inning, scoring eight runs on only one hit, a double by Kyle Ward, two errors by Bunn, one hitter batter and eight base on balls issued by Bunn pitchers. Sledge was relieved by Jon Johnston, who had control problems, walking three straight Padua batters. Coach Leonard Allen then called on Timmy Mitchell and finally brought Sledge back into the game to close out the inning, with the score tied 8-8.
In the top of the fifth Paua took the lead from Bunn. After Nick Mog reached on an error, Anthony Ortiz sacrificed Mog to second. Nick Hoy then hit a line drive single and score Mog and give Padua a short lived 9-8 lead. Bunn was able to tie the game back up in their half of the fifth inning. Kelton Pearce was hit by a pitch to lead off their at bat, followed by a sacrifice bunt laid down by Sean McDaniel. Pearce advanced to third via a wild pitch, then scored the tying run on another wild pitch, putting the score at 9-9 after five innings.
Neither team was able to score in the sixth inning, and Padua was unable to put across any runs in the top of the seventh inning. This set the stage for Bunn to try and push across a run for the victory. Tony Alafitta reached base via a Padua error to lead off the bottom of the seventh for Bunn. After a sacrifice bunt by Forrest Maynard, Pearce worked his way for a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. After McDaniel flied out to the third baseman for the second out of the inning, Austin Torrealba hit a ground ball that was misplayed by the Padua second baseman, which allowed Alafitta to score with the winning run.
Sledge was the winning pitcher for Bunn, pitching 6 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits, striking out 4 and walking 3. Scott Sechler took the loss for Padua in relief, pitching well, but giving up the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. He allowed no hits, while striking out 1 batter, allowing no walks and hitting two batters in his 2 2/3 innings on the mound.
Leading hitters for Bunn: Sledge, 2-4, home run, 2 RBI. Pearce, 1-2. Maynard and Torrealba both 1-3. Leading hitters for Padua: Tyler Weeks and Anthony Ortiz both 1-2. Nick Hoy 1-4 with 2 RBI.
Bunn plays Jefferson Forest from Forest, Virginia at 4 p.m. today.
Jefferson Forest reached the semi-final game with a thrilling, ten inning 4-3 win over Lawrence Academy. Padua plays Lawrence Academy at 11 a.m. today.