AMHERST COUNTY – If you needed to see who had the game-winning walk-off hit, all you had to do was look for the bleached blonde mohawk streaking across the infield at the end of Amherst County's 3-2 win over Bassett. A number of Lancer players decided to bleach their mohawks after winning the Region III Championship but Peyton Maddox was the only one being lifted up into the air by his teammates.
Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the 7th inning in the VHSL Group AA State Quarterfinals, the Lancers (25-0) scored twice to stay undefeated. They'll face Sherando, who won 5-3 over Culpeper in the state semifinals which will be played Friday at Calfee Park in Pulaski at 10 a.m.
Amherst, who jokingly referred to his players "as a bunch of goofballs," simply does not give up. This past Friday they trailed 7-0 against Alleghany before scoring eight runs to defeat the Mountaineers.
Tuesday they trailed 2-0 after Bassett scored twice in the 6th inning. The Bengals scored the first run on an error and then Michael Gauldin's single scored Jonah McReynolds.
Amherst cut the deficit in half with a run in the bottom of that inning. Maddox's first RBI of the game made it 2-1 heading to the 7th.
Kemper Terry started for Bassett and pitched well but walked the first batter and then hit D.A. Christian to put runners at first and second base. Jacob Orme then used a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. Bassett then intentionally walked Jesse Stinnett to load the bases. Logan Pingley's hard shot to the third baseman drove in one run to tie it. That set the stage for Maddox's heroics.
"For whatever reason I just felt when he came into that batter's box we were going to win this game and we were going to win it in that at-bat. With two strikes he's been fantastic all year," head coach Joey Crawford said after the game.
Maddox delivered on his coach's premonition, crushing a 3-2 pitch off the centerfield wall. Stinnett scored and the victorious celebration ended with a maroon and white colored dog pile in short left field.
Following the Region III championship win over Alleghany, players and coaches have tossed the word "destiny" around and now the Lancers are two wins away from a perfect season and a state championship.
*To see highlights and sound bites from Maddox and Crawford please click on the video player.