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Defending State Champion Gaither Tops Wharton for First Win

Defending Class 7A state champion Gaither held on to beat Wharton 5-4 to earn its first win of the season Friday in Tampa. The Cowboys lost a four-run lead but scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win.

With the game tied at four in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cowboys delivered on two clutch hits to regain the lead. AJ Drisdom led off the inning with a double to center and Brandon Driscoll followed up by hitting the first pitch he saw to left field to give Gaither a 5-4 lead.

Alex Santiago earned the win in relief for Gaither (1-1). He pitched two innings, allowing no runs, one hit, no walks while striking out two.

The final score didn’t reflect the start of the game, when Gaither jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the third inning. However, Wharton (1-1) rallied back to tie the game at four by the bottom of the fifth inning. The Wildcats picked up two runs in the fourth when Ricky Viloria hit a two out, two RBI single scoring Grady McGuire and Clayton Coringrato.

They added two more unearned runs in the fifth.

Cowboys starter Julian Lopez pitched four and two-third innings allowing four runs, one hit, three walks and one strikeout.

Drisdom and Kenny Rodriguez each went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Chipper Holland went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Driscoll finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Viloria was Wharton’s offensive standout. He finished 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Maguire scored two runs.

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