Chatham rallies past Appomattox to claim Region 2C baseball throne

In the recently-concluded popular television series "Game of Thrones" there were actually no winners of the coveted Iron Throne. 

But tonight the Chatham Cavaliers baseball team sits on the 2019 VHSL Region 2C throne after their seventh-inning comeback win over the Appomattox Raiders. 

Trailing 5-3 with no outs, the Cavaliers tied the score on an Andrew Potojecki bases loaded double to right field. The next hitter, Hunter Adkins, launched a walk-off hit to deep left field off of Appomattox relief pitcher Dennis Ward to drive in the winning run. 

Appomattox Raiders starting pitcher Camron Smith, who pitched five and two-thirds innings, was required to exit the game with the Raiders ahead 5-2 because of the pitch count rule that prevents a pitcher from exceeding 110 pitches. Jacob Johnson and Ward pitched in relief of Smith. 

After a shaky performance by Chatham starting pitcher Matthew Arnold, the bullpen came through and held Appomattox scoreless the final two innings. 

Despite the loss, Appomattox qualifies for the VHSL Class 2 State Tournament and will travel Tuesday to play at Lebanon. 

Raiders senior first baseman Conner Patterson said that tonight's loss hurts but the team must remain positive. 

"It's a tough one," he said. "The travel shouldn't be too bad, but we'll go out there Tuesday and get 'em and hopefully survive to see the next round." 

Joe Caruso, Appomattox head coach, said the team never took the late-inning lead for granted. 

"They know that team over there is really good," Caruso said of the Raiders' respect for Chatham. "There wasn't any maybes that they thought they had the game won; they knew they had to play the whole thing. You know, we just ran out of steam ... It's a great high school ball game. We just came up on the short end." 

If the Raiders win Tuesday, they will advance to the state championship rounds to be held June 7 and 8 at Radford University.

For further coverage, see the June 5 edition of the Times Virginian.