A.C. Flora shut out Emerald, 8-0, in the second game of the Class 3A District 4 title series on Friday at Falcon Field. The visiting Vikings won the first game, 5-2.
Falcons coach Andy Hallett said his squad remained confident heading into the last game because of the serendipitous fortunes of Emerald in the opener.
“I thought they got every break known to mankind (in Game 1),” Hallett said. “The ball hit the mound twice. That is as lucky as I’ve ever seen a team in my life. The ball hits the mound twice; they hit off the glove twice — it goes to somebody else.
“That is as lucky as I’ve ever seen a team in my life. They’re a good team, but they caught every break. ... I knew they weren’t going to get that lucky again.”
In the opener, the Falcons had taken a two-run lead in the first inning, but faced a three-run deficit by the the bottom of the fifth. A.C. Flora posted 10 hits in the game, but left five runners on base in the final innings.
But fortune favored the Falcons as Game 2 began.
Donald Gillespie was walked to lead off the second inning, and Austin Beskid followed with a double. The Falcons scored on a wild pitch, then got Beskid home on a fly ball from Jack Hudgens.
The Falcons put the game away in the top of the fifth.
Everett Eynon took second on an Emerald error, and Gillespie walked. With two runners on and two outs, Eynon scored when Emerald was penalized for a balk by the pitcher. Then Beskid blooped an RBI single, and Connor Desmond followed with a two-run triple.
Emerald gave up two more runs when the shortstop bobbled a line drive from Hudgens, allowing Desmond home, before Davis Funderburk drove a ball off the the left field fence for an RBI.
The Falcons guarded their advantage with strong defense.
Falcons starter Matt Wallace had a no-hitter through five innings, but the Falcons allowed two singles and two walks in the final two innings. Wallace struck out five to help preserve the shutout.
“That’s why he’s our guy,” Hallett said.
The Falcons will travel to Eastside for the first game of the Upper State tournament on Monday.