For two days that featured three competitive games, Union Grove and Starr’s Mill battled for Region 4-AAAAA baseball supremacy. And the two teams fought as if they were two of the top-ranked teams in Class AAAAA, which they are. In the end, it was Starr’s Mill prevailing 5-4 over the Wolverines in the deciding Game 3 played at Union Grove.
Southern Crescent Buzz photographer Steve Knight gave his perspective both through words and pictures. Check it out:
By Steve Knight
Until the top of the fifth inning in that last game, I’d have simply said Union Grove just wanted it more. Their pitching mostly held Starr’s Mill at bay — easily at times, and if you couple that with a series of three wild pitches in the second inning that allowed the Wolverines to grab a 2-1 lead it appeared that Starr’s Mill, coming off a 9-3 loss in Game 2, just didn’t show up ready to play, whereas Union Grove came out as if it knew they were in the fight of their life in trying to defeat Class AAAAA No. 2 Starr’s Mill.
It seemed, at least starting off, that Union Grove’s decisive victory the night before rattled the Panthers’ cages, and for much of the game, Union Grove played like it. That is, until the top of the fifth inning when the Starr’s Mill bats finally woke up. It was just good old fashioned, fundamental place hitting that was putting men on base, one single at a time, until the bases were juiced with with the go ahead run at first. Then Adam Goodman drilled a base hit that brought in two runs. Before the inning was done they had taken the lead by one run.
Starr’s Mill’s Richie Post, who had taken the mound in the bottom of the fourth, threw an impressive game the rest of the way, en route to notching the win, and giving Starr’s Mill a satisfying Region 4-AAAAA championship after finishing region runners up in 2014.
I was impressed with the way Union Grove held strong throughout the game’s ebbs and flows, never giving up or laying down. Actually, the only time they showed any sign of defeat was when the Starr’s Mill center fielder caught a fly ball for the third out in the last inning to win the game. Save for one single inning, and a rally that gave Starr’s Mill three runs, I’d said they looked like, perhaps, the better team.
It will be entertaining to watch these two duke it out against whomever their opponents will be in this year’s state tournament. These are definitely two of the best teams in the state.