PHOTO: Ethan Sands/WOUB

Athens Bulldogs Walk-Off the Warren Warriors

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ATHENS, Ohio – The Athens Bulldogs (21-6) proved why not only home field, but hometown advantage plays a decisive role in the sports world. The 2nd seed Bulldogs faced off against an 8th seed Warren Warriors squad (19-8) who had just come off two straight walk-off wins against Marietta and Circleville.

This game was a battle of the aces. Nate Trainer got the nod for the Bulldogs, Trainer has thrown 2 no-hitters this season. Trainer threw six and two-thirds innings while giving up three earned runs. He was relieved by Reece Wallace who gave up one earned run and earned the win for the Bulldogs.

Evan Gandee was up for the task of slowing down the red hot Bulldogs as he threw four innings of work while giving up three earned runs. He was relieved by Drew Huffman who tossed five innings and gave up 2 earned runs while taking the loss for the Warriors.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout the night. When one team scored, the other had an answer in the very next half inning. Neither team wanted to let the District Championship slip from their fingers.

Wallace entered the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and the game knotted up at three, needing to get just one out to give his team a chance to win the game in the bottom half inning. Wallace exceeded that requirement as he handled the next batter he faced. He was unscathed until the top of the ninth inning before giving up his first and only run of the game. Headed to the bottom of the ninth, it was do or die time for the Bulldogs.

After a single and two walks, Peyton Gail was due up for the Bulldogs. With a 1-0 count and the bases juiced, Gail lined a two-RBI double into the right-center gap.

Peyton Gail was the hero for the Bulldogs as he muscled three of Athens’ five runs with two coming being down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth. Ironically enough, Gail believes that he played a better game defensively than he did offensively. He spoke about his approach at the plate for his walk-off hit.

“Man, I just cleared my head and just looked for a pitch I could drive into the infield or outfield just to get on-base and drive home a tying run,” Gail said.

The walk-off heroics for the Warriors has finally come to an end, and now they have to face the bitterness of an ended season by walk-off.

The Warren Warriors’ Cinderella story closes in the District Championship after defeating No. 9 Jackson, No. 1 Unioto, No. 4 Marietta and No. 2 Circleville.

The Athens Bulldogs continue their impressive run as they have now won three of the last four District Championships. The Bulldogs will face off against St. Clairsville, who’s coming off a 13 to 3 win against Meadowbrook. This match-up will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m. at Bob Wren Stadium