The Falcons (20-2) trailed most of the game and Union pitcher Cam Bartee departed because of pitch count, the Bears up 8-5 in the sixth. The Falcons jumped all over the bullpen, taking advantage of four walks and a hit batter.
A two-run double by Chase Hungate gave the Falcons the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I felt like Union outplayed us until that inning,” Abingdon coach Mark Francisco said. “We didn’t pitch very well and we didn’t play good defense, which has been our MO. I made a couple of boneheaded coaching mistakes, but the kids showed a lot of heart and I’m proud of how they came back.”
Union (14-9) outhit Abingdon 9-6, with leadoff batter Mason Caldwell reaching base four times and scoring twice. Landry Baker, hitting at No. 5, also reached base four times.
The Bears found production throughout the lineup. Nate Bailey, in the cleanup spot, and Noah Boling in the 9-hole, each had two singles.
The Bears came back and put themselves in position to rebound after the disastrous sixth inning. Caldwell scored and the Bears had runners on second and third with the tying run at the plate on their final at-bat.
“The seventh inning, we didn’t quit and we had a guy we wanted up there in that situation,” Union coach David Wyrick said. “That’s hats off to them.”
He was complimentary of the job by Bartee, who gave up five runs and five hits over five innings and was in line for the win when he exited.
“Cam Bartee did exactly what we asked him to do,” Wyrick said. “He came in, battled and changed speeds. We did enough offensively to be where we needed to be.
“Abingdon is a good baseball team.”
Ethan Ketron had a single, drew three walks and scored three runs for the Falcons. Caleb Collins, T.J. Taylor and Hungate each scored twice. Taylor threw the first five innings for Abingdon, and Jake Thacker ended up with the win.
Union, the No. 2 seed in region play, will likely host Grayson County next Monday at 6 p.m.
The Blue Devils (12-11) got stranded in their 6-3 loss to the Trojans (14-9).
Gate City held an 11-2 advantage in hits but left 10 runners on base to doom their chances. Jon Compton went 3-for-4 and led Gate City with two RBIs and Carson Jenkins also went 3-for-4.
Jake Taylor, who finished 2-for-3, took the loss. Taylor gave up four runs over four innings. Mason Barnette pitched the final two innings.
Micah Whitt’s bases-clearing single gave Battle the lead in the fourth inning. The Trojans added two more runs in the sixth before Gate City pushed a run across in the final inning.
“We had chances early to put two or three (runs) on the board and couldn’t get that hit we needed,” Gate City coach Jonathon Salyer said. “They get three runs on one hit. We’ve had a problem lately getting guys in scoring position and not getting that hit to score them. You can’t do that against a team like John Battle. When they got the guys in position, they made us pay.”