CARY, N.C.—Facing a five-run deficit in their second game of the day, Huntsville never gave up. They put together hit after hit against three pitchers en route to a shocking 6-4 win over Regis Jesuit on the final day of the National High School Invitational, held at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex.
“There’s a big difference it going home 1-3 and going home 2-2,” Huntsville head coach David Sharp said. “We knew what we were getting into when we came up here. Probably like a lot of the other teams, we came hoping we could compete.”
Huntsville’s winning rally started to take shape in the sixth, when Graham Ashcraft socked a two-run double to cut his team’s deficit to a lone run.
Whitt Davis’ single to left sent Ashcraft chugging home from second with the tying run to complete the comeback and inject life in Huntsville squad that had suffered an 11-0 drubbing against Bishop Verot to start their final day in Cary.
With the momentum squarely in their favor, Huntsville’s suddenly revived lineup kept churning.
“We got hot,” Sharp said. “We’re a rhythm team, we’re aggressive and hitting is contagious. We started hitting some balls hard and we just put some hits together. We’d had some good at-bats during the game, but we weren’t putting hits together and good at-bats together and finally there in the bottom of the sixth we were able to put some at-bats together and we hit some balls that inning.”
Third baseman Cameron Aaron followed Davis’ knock with another into the corner in left field, deep enough to plate his teammate from first with the go-ahead score and set off a raucous celebration in the first-base dugout.
Logan Storey put a cherry on top with a triple high off the left field wall—his second three-bagger of the day—to bring home Aaron with an insurance run that seemed a virtual impossibility just minutes earlier.
After looking lost for five-plus innings, Huntsville was alive, well and three outs from victory.
“It’s just exciting,” Ashcraft said about the atmosphere in the dugout as his team’s bat were coming to life. “I just love my team. Everybody’s so close. It’s such a close unit. Something goes good, it doesn’t matter who it is, everybody’s going to be proud.”
The win was sealed when Eli Reynolds raced into the left field corner, slid into the cap created by the fence and the bullpen and hauled in the final out with a flurry of dust in his wake.
Huntsville opened the scoring in the third, when Luke Beasley’s single to right plated Storey, who tripled high off the wall in left field to open the frame.
The lead lasted but a few minutes. Regis Jesuit’s Max George opened the fourth with a sharp single, stole second and scored when Huntsville second baseman Zac Neumann booted Reagan Todd’s grounder.
Regis Jesuit broke a 1-1 deadlock in the fifth on Quinn Cotton’s sharp single past third base. The hit scored Geoff Kice, who had begun the frame with a single into left field and moved up on Brooks Urich’s sacrifice bunt.
They tacked on a precious insurance run in the sixth when Todd worked Huntsville starter Tyson Lee for a one-out walk in advance of consecutive singles from Justin Thaxton and Anthony Donovan.
A wild pitch later, it looked like Regis would coast to victory.
Huntsville, however, had other ideas.