Lovejoy comes back in seventh to beat Carver

By Anthony Rhoads

Lovejoy's Jordan Chastain had only one at-bat in Wednesday's game against Carver-Columbus but he made the most of it.

Chastain came off the bench in the seventh inning with his team down 9-7 and with two runners on base.

Chastain then collected a two-run single to tie the contest at 9-9.

Two batters later, Chastain came home to win the game when Jeremy Kostka hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

"When it came time to do something he was gutsy and I knew he would give us the opportunity to win," Lovejoy head coach Craig Chatman said. "It was a big at-bat for our team and for Jordan as well."

Lovejoy had to battle back throughout the Region 4-AAAAA contest and in the third inning was down 5-0.

"We were really flat to start but it was a tribute to these kids to pull it out," Chatman said. "They've showed a lot of heart and will give you everything they have. We've been in so many games this season; it's good to win. It's exciting to see them play solid baseball."

Lovejoy came back with three runs in the bottom of the third and a highlight of the inning was a two-run triple by Ethan Waters. Waters also scored two runs.

Carver and Lovejoy both scored two in the fourth inning. Lovejoy cut the deficit to 7-5 in the fifth inning but Carver added two runs. The Wildcats came back with two runs in the fifth to tie it at 7-7 but Carver took a 9-7 lead after the sixth.

Getting multiple hits for Lovejoy were Anthony Routh (2-for-4, one run) and Truett O'Neal (2-for-4, two runs).

O'Neal was the starting pitcher for the Wildcats and he worked 5 1/3 innings, striking out four.

"He's pitched wonderful every time he's gone out this year; he's been tremendous," Chatman said. "I honestly didn't think Carver would score nine runs off him. You've got to give Carver credit."

Phillip McKibbon threw the final 1 1/3 innings to be credited with the win for Lovejoy.

Lovejoy has played competitively this season but in many games, the Wildcats haven't been able to come back like they did Wednesday.

"We needed a boost," Chatman said. "We've had some bad breaks go against us. We've played well against the upper echelon in the region but we need to play seven innings consistently."

The Wildcats are still alive for a postseason as they are 6-10 overall and 3-5 in the region.

"We're going to have to play as hard as we can every day and do what gives us the best chance to win each time out," Chatman said. "We're trying to restore some of the pride that was lost here last season and we're restoring it with hard work and a good attitude."

This season is Chatman's first year as head coach after being an assistant under Scott John for several years. In 2000, Chatman was on the coaching staff and his younger brother Corey was a starting player when the team made it to Class AAAA Final 4.

"I played here and this is a family thing with me," Chatman said. "This is one of the things I've always wanted to do. It's a joy to come to work everyday and working with the kids."

Mt. Zion 7, Houston County 3: The Mt. Zion Bulldogs improved their Region 2-AAAAA record to 3-5 after their win over Houston County.

Caleb Lester pitched a complete game to record the victory.

Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Emory Clark (two hits, two RBIs), Jacob Fletcher (3-for-3, one RBI and two runs) and Cannady Walker (two RBIs).