in strikeouts and he didn’t give up any walks. He came out and threw strikes and filled up the box and stayed low gave them enough at the plate for them to make weak contact.”
Chopticon (16-5), the top seed in the section, managed to get the leadoff batter on in the third, fourth and seventh innings, but just one managed to get to second.
“Their pitcher had a great game,” said Chopticon assistant coach David Sapp, speaking for his father and head coach, Ray Sapp. “He had a low pitch count all game, he was getting quick outs. Our guys didn’t really do a good job of making him work, but he was pounding the zone. We just ran into a pitcher who was having a really good game.”
“The pitcher was throwing pretty good. He wasn’t overpowering anybody,” said Chopticon senior Trey Linassi, who was 0 for 2 with a walk. “We were getting really anxious in the box looking for the first pitch because we had runners on base. Honestly, if we had been a little patient and looked at some pitches, we would have been fine today.”
Trailing 4-2, Chopticon threatened in the seventh when leadoff hitter Gavin Tippett reached on an infield hit and Linassi walked. But Zabiegalski stayed on the mound and there was no movement in the bullpen.
“We didn’t need to [get anyone up],” Nadolsky said. “I was nervous, but I have all the confidence in Matt in the world.”
Zabiegalski got Zach Roberts to pop out to first, struck out Brent Sherman and Derek Welch hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice.
North Point snapped a 2-all tie in the fourth when Cody Bottorf led off with a single and scored on Hampton’s double to left.
“I was just trying to get a pitch to hit and [Sherman, Chopticon’s starter] gave me a good pitch outside to hit, so I just barreled it up,” Hampton said. “I’m got going to lie, I thought [outfielder Zach Roberts] was going to catch it.
“He looked to have a decent jump on it, but he turned the wrong way so he did get twisted up a little bit,” Sapp said. “That’s a tough play anywhere.”
The Eagles opened the scoring on Zach Doss’ RBI groundout.
Chopticon answered with two runs in the bottom of the first when Charles Burroughs singled and Scott Cameron reached on an infield hit. Burroughs later scored on an error and Cameron crossed the plate on Tippett’s fielder’s choice. That would be Chopticon’s last two runs of the 2017 season.
“The difference between that inning and the [six] others was we’d get a guy on and then hit into a double play or get a strikeout,” Sapp said. “Those opportunities faded fast.”
“I think it was big-game, first-inning jitters,” Nadolsky said. “We have a young middle infield [who were] a little nervous, but they turned two double plays and made every [defensive] play the rest of the game. And that’s all I can ask of them.”
North Point tied the game in the second when Lane Lynch hit a one-out single and scored on Ethan Martinez’s RBI single.
Sherman and Burroughs combined to allow seven hits, six of them singles, and Buroughs did not allow a hit and fanned four in three innings of relief.
“[Sherman] did everything we asked him to. He allowed a couple hits off the end of the bat and some hits that fell, but that happens,” Sapp said. “And Chase did a good job coming in. I could not be more proud of those two guys.”
Chopticon will lose seven seniors — Linassi, Sherman, Sean Lemmon, Jake Wood, Hank Bowling, Patrick Mudd and Dylan Russell — to graduation.
“They know what it’s like to win and what it takes to win and they passed it on to the younger guys and set a winning precedent down here,” Sapp said of his 12th-graders, who helped the Braves win the 2015 3A state championship. “I think if our young guys can come through and progress, I think we can have a heck of a ball team next year.”
North Point celebrates its first-ever berth in a regional championship game following a 4-2 win over Chopticon on Tuesday in the Class 4A East Region Section II final.