Donald Gillespie’s three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Thursday at Falcon Field sent top-ranked, defending state champion A.C. Flora on to the Upper State championship round in the wake of a stirring 6-5 semifinal triumph.
Flora (23-6) is one win away from advancing to the state championship series for the second year in a row. The Falcons look to lock up the Upper State title on Monday at home.
The visiting Devil Dogs broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the top of the fifth inning, but the determined Falcons were hardly discouraged. ACF got back two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer by Madison Stokes and shaved another run off the deficit in the sixth on the legs of Austin Beskid, who opened the inning with a single and came all the way around to scored when TR had a throwing error on his attempted steal of second base.
That set the stage for Gillespie’s dramatic blast in the seventh, with the help, of course, from Stokes who reached base on an error and Schroder Carlton who followed with a single.
Beskid emerged as the winning pitcher, as well – working two innings of hitless, shutout relief.