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Groves clinches share of OAA White title with doubleheader sweep of Seaholm WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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BIRMINGHAM — With a division title almost certainly hanging in the balance, Birmingham Groves took both games of a key doubleheader with city rival Birmingham Seaholm on Monday, ensuring itself at least a share of the OAA White title.

The Falcons cruised to a 7-1 victory in the early game and posted a 7-3 extra-inning win in the nightcap after the Maples had rallied to tie the game in their last opportunity to bat.

“It was good to see all of our guys come out and step forward, continuing to play team-oriented baseball. They went after it and had quality at-bats,” Groves coach Shawn Morrison said of sweeping Seaholm in a battle of division co-leaders.

In the first contest, senior Max Novick threw a complete game for the Falcons (26-3), surrendering just one run on four hits. Groves scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the third, with a two-run single by Michael Pastoria breaking the game wide open.

Connor Bradbury tacked on an RBI with a sac fly in the seventh.

The second game was scoreless until the third inning when Groves strung together multiple hits, including back-to-back RBI doubles by John Kowalchuk and Chaise Ford. An error in the infield allowed a third run to score making it 3-0 Falcons.

Seaholm began chipping away at its deficit with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Desperate for a run, the Maples loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the seventh and scored the game-tying run when the umpire ruled that Groves’ catcher had stepped off the plate on a force play at home.

Preventing Seaholm from grabbing a walk-off win, Falcons pitcher Noah Zacharias induced a fly ball to end the inning, stranding the bases loaded and bringing on extra innings.

“I pulled them aside and said we have to battle through adversity. We just have to be us and do what we do,” Morrison said after Seaholm tied it. “When it was all said and done, we did that. It was our first extra-inning wins of the year.”

In the top of the eighth, Groves got singles from Zavier Warren, George Cutler and Novick to load the bases with nobody out. Senior Andrew Martin delivered a sacrifice fly deep enough into the outfield to score a go-ahead run, with another coming in after an error. The Falcons jumped ahead 7-3, allowing Zacharias to close the game out without incident.

Groves and Seaholm will complete the three-game series on Wednesday. Both teams also have one previously unfinished divisional game still to come. The Falcons hold a two-game edge in the division standings over the Maples with a 12-1 record.

“We didn’t win the league last year – we finished one game behind Farmington – so we want to be sure we come out and do our thing (Wednesday),” Morrison said.

Last Updated: 5/15/2017 8:51:36 PM EST

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