Bryce Peppers hit a game-tying, two-run double and Ty Whiting drove in the eventual winning run as the Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team rallied to stun Tiftarea Academy 5-4 Friday, May 7, in Game 1 of a GISA Class AAA quarterfinal series in Chula.
The seventh-seeded Knights (13-11) moved to within one win of their first Final Four appearance since 2015 and will go for the series sweep at noon Saturday, May 8. An if-necessary third game will follow, and the series winner will face either Dominion Christian or Brookwood School, who were scheduled to play the deciding third game of their series Saturday afternoon.
Second-seeded Tiftarea (17-9) had scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 4-2 lead into the final frame, and starting pitcher Hayden Murphy appeared to be in control. But Brady Logan started BCA’s seventh-inning rally when he was hit by a pitch, and after a lineout by Ethan Guthas and single by Conner Hilton, Peppers laced a Murphy offering into center, bringing home Logan and Hilton to tie the game.
After Cody Craft drew a walk, the Panthers brought in Logan Moore to pitch. Moore got Trevor Slaick to ground out for the second out of the inning, but Whiting sent a 1-0 pitch into left for a go-ahead single.
Slaick, who went the distance on the mound for the Knights, gave up a leadoff single to Murphy in the bottom of the seventh, but rebounded with a strikeout, ground out and pop out to finish off the win.
Slaick allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out five on the day while adding an RBI single that gave the Knights their first run of the game in the fourth and cut the Panthers’ initial lead down to 2-1. BCA tied the game in the fifth when Guthas reached on a one-out error, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a dropped third strike that would have ended the inning.