Rare mistakes initially cost Cross Creek the lead Monday. But in crunch time, errors gave it back and added to it.
The Razorbacks baseball team finished strong and won at home against Harlem 5-3 to move on to the Region 3-AAA title game. Cross Creek will play Friday against Thomson, which beat Westside 6-3 on Monday night.
“This means a lot,” Cross Creek coach Tavis Cummings said. “This team taught me about teamwork and team unity.”
Cross Creek (19-5-1), the subregion A champions, has improved its win total every season of Cummings’ leadership. The coach is in his fifth season and one win away from grabbing a No. 1 seed for the Class AAA state tournament.
A string of miscues by the Razorbacks in the top of the second erased a 3-0 score.
First, on a grounder with two Harlem runners on base, the Razorbacks tried to get an out at home. But the ball was never secured by the catcher as the first run came home.
After a poor pickoff attempt advanced two runners, a pair of Bulldogs reached on hits. With the bases loaded, a low pitch got away from catcher Robbie Dewitt and the game was suddenly 3-3.
After forcing the tie, Harlem (17-7) had only two more hits against Jacob Lazenby.
In the fourth inning, Cross Creek’s Tyler Darnall smacked a ground-rule double. The next hitter tried a sacrifice bunt, and an error allowed the Razorbacks’ fourth run to score.
With Cross Creek looking for an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, a two-out walk set the stage. Moments later, a pop-up fell in for another error, and the last run came home.
Harlem threatened to extend the game in the seventh, but a groundout with two on ended it.
“I knew we had a shot at it,” Cross Creek’s Tyler Grooms said of playing for the region crown. “We just have to keep playing as a team.”