Between innings, Greenbrier's Scott Wandless would sit down in the same spot in the dugout. Bidding for a perfect game makes the best of pitchers superstitious.
The junior southpaw sat down the first 18 Hardaway batters before giving up a lone hit in the seventh inning of the Wolfpack's 4-0 win in Game 1 of the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs Wednesday.
Greenbrier (23-6) later scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to win a four-hour, 10-minute Game 2 affair with the Hawks, 9-6.
The Wolfpack will play at the winner of the Heritage-Marist series Tuesday.
"We would get ahead and they'd battle back and tie it back up," Greenbrier coach Ed Williams said about the Game 2 victory. "It'd just go back and forth. That just goes to show the quality of program Hardaway has."
Greenbrier's Scott Wandless pitched a one-hit game against Hardaway to lead the the Wolfpack to the first of two wins.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We were fortunate to get that hit in the second game to break it open."
In the first game, Rich Poythress hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first. That 3-0 lead was all Wandless would need.
Wandless sat down 18 straight batters and needed just three more outs for a perfect game. He entered the seventh inning knowing the situation.
"I heard some people in the dugout talking about it and I just told them to be quiet about it," Wandless said. "It was in the back of my head. I knew it. I just tried not to think about it."
One batter into the seventh frame it all became irrelevant. Hardaway's Paul Vazquez, who pulled a home run just foul innings earlier, knocked a shot up the middle past a diving Ryan Wallace at short.
Wandless easily got the next two batters and appeared ready to close the door. But he walked the bases full and brought up pinch hitter, and potential tying run, Trent Bowens.
After getting Bowens into a 1-2 hole, Wandless threw two balls. The shutout was now in jeopardy. But Wandless came back with a fastball on the inside corner to catch Bowens looking.
"Scott did a great job making the pitches," Williams said. "To be able to do that against a team like that is a big credit to Scott."
"He threw a great game, Poythress said. "He just had a great command. Nobody could put a bat on it. He was completely dominate."
As easy as Game 1 was, the second game was a different story. The Wolfpack had the lead three different times only to watch the Hawks tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The game remained tied in the top of the 10th when Greenbrier loaded the bases with one out. After Adam Turner grounded into a 4-2 fielder's choice, Poythress came to the plate.
The Wolfpack freshman quickly got into an 0-2 hole and took a borderline ball - which Hardaway thought was strike three as the team proceeded to make its way to the dugout. With new life, Poythress ripped an Elliott Kees fastball up the middle for two runs. Greenbrier led 8-6.
"I knew that umpire wasn't going to give me another one," Poythress said. "I figured anything with two strikes I was going to have to try and drive the ball."
The Wolfpack added another run when Turner scored on a Kees wild pitch.
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