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Bears down Patriots
Griffin wins first game; Weather delays second

GRIFFIN - The Heritage baseball team will resume its Class AAAA quarterfinal playoff series today with its back against the wall.

The Patriots (26-5) trail Griffin 1-0 in the best-of-three series after Game 2 was called Tuesday night due to lightning and rain.

The Bears won Game 1 by a score of 9-4 and were leading the second game 2-0 after 4 1â "2 innings when the game was stopped for lightning.

Since the game never restarted and did not reach five full innings, it will start over today from the beginning.

The game is set to start at 5 p.m. at the Bears' Den at Griffin High School. If necessary, Game 3 will follow about 40 minutes after Game 2.

The Patriots are vying for their fourth straight trip to the Class AAAA semifinals.

Game 1

Griffin 9, Heritage 4

In Game 1, Griffin jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Todd Hammond had a two-run double, Starting pitcher Greg Fietsam added an RBI single and the fourth run scored on an error.

The Patriots never recovered from the Bears' quick start. Heritage starting pitcher Anthony Bazzani cut the early deficit in half with a towering two-run homer to left in the top of the second.

However, Griffin standout Beckham answered with a solo shot to left-center in the top of the third. Tim Beckham, who is projected to be a top draft pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball Amateur draft, lived up to his billing, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The Patriots only retired him once, on a nice play by Nick Matteen on a sinking liner in right field.

The Bears broke open the game by scoring one in the fourth and three more times in the fifth. Beckham's RBI single plated an unearned run in the fourth.

Hammond added another RBI double in the fifth.

Bazzani was pulled after 4 1/3 innings. The junior righthander surrendered seven earned runs and eight hits. He also recorded five strikeouts.

Heritage made some noise in the top of the seventh against Fietsam. Billy Abbott worked a one-out walk. Two batters later, Travis Tarleton smashed a two-run homer to left field, cutting the deficit to 9-4. After Chunk Smith singled, his third hit of the game, Fietsam struck Ryan Jubran out to wrap up the Griffin victory.

The Patriots had eight hits in the game but stranded six runners, including three in scoring position.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.