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Region baseball: One inning lifts Sickles over Durant

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Wed. April 30, 2014 | Steve Lee

DURANT — Sickles did all of its damage in one inning of a 5-3 comeback win over Durant in Wednesday’s Class 7A region quarterfinal.

The Gryphons (18-7) erased a 3-0 deficit with a five-run fifth highlighted by Levi Gilcrease’s three-run home run over the left-centerfield fence. Maddux Faber added an RBI triple in that inning.

“(Gilcrease) was in a slump and we were just waiting for him to explode,” Sickles coach Bob Pagano said. “It had to happen sometime.”

Sickles, victimized by Wiregrass Ranch Zach Drury’s no-hitter in the district final, loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning, but that threat ended when Durant pitcher Bryce Gainer fanned Maddux Faber.

That marked the first of 10 straight outs before Patrick O’Donnell led off Sickles’ fifth with a single. Matt Gele was hit by a pitch before Xavier Rodriguez hit a run-scoring single, setting the stage for Gilcrease’s dramatic homer.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” said Gilcrease, a leftfielder who also made a diving catch to his left in the first. “Sometimes when you put the ball in play it goes far.”

Durant took a 3-0 lead in the third. Justin Nardello reached on the first of two infield errors and scored on a double play before Luke Heyer hit a two-run double. It was Heyer’s second double of the game.

Sickles pitcher Troy Bacon went the distance, scattering seven hits, striking out six and walking one.

“I didn’t think he was throwing sharp at first, but after that big inning the adrenaline came back,” Pagano said of the junior right-hander.
 

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