EAGLES

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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.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

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.

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