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Bay Comes Back Against Rutherford To Win 5A-1 Title

The 2017 5A-1 champion Bay Tornadoes.

Armani Larry’s single to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in Rashard Lucas with the deciding run, as the Bay Tornadoes rallied late to walk-off with a 5-4 victory in Wednesday’s 5A-1 championship game. A year after falling to the same Rutherford squad in the title game, Bay (15-12) found itself in a three-run hole midway through the action, before the Tornadoes stormed back to victory.

Both teams already earned a berth in next week’s regional playoffs, and Bay will next host a regional quarterfinal against Godby. The Rams (12-13) will travel to face 5A-2 champion Marianna on the other side of the Region 5A-1 bracket.

with things all tied up entering the bottom of the seventh, Lucas worked his fourth walk of the contest to get things started. Dawson Erbacher and Samuel Clement also walked to load the bases, before the Rams recorded the first out on a foul tip. Playing for an infield grounder in hopes of turning a double play that would have ended the threat and forced extra innings, Larry managed to drive the ball into center field to finish off the comeback and spark the championship celebration.

It was only the second hit of the game for the Tornadoes, the other coming on an RBI single from Spencer Sandlin. Erbacher picked up the win in relief of starter Marquez Oates, who struck out seven but left the mound trailing after surrendering four unearned runs.

Rutherford starter Julius Smith did not allow any hits, but gave up two earned runs after issuing six walks. Smith struck out three before exiting with one out in the fifth, giving way to reliever Ryan Leno. The Rams also struggled to string hits together, collecting only three on the night in support of the pitchers.

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