Chatham’s Brae Adkins tied the Virginia High School League record for most RBI in a single season and Chatham scored four runs in the fourth to break open a one-run game in its 12-5 win over Gretna in the opening round of the Region 2C tournament on Monday night.
With Chatham holding an 8-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Adkins sent a double to left that scored Grant Reynolds for his 52 RBI of the season. Making the mark even more impressive, the record stands across all six classes of VHSL baseball.
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Adkins said, modestly. “We’ve had a great year hitting and every time I come up, it seems like we have runners on base. I don’t try to do anything special, I just try to put the bat on the ball and bring them around.”
Top-seeded Chatham moves on to play Glenvar — who defeated Floyd 3-1 — in the regional semis.
Chatham piled on four runs in the fourth to break open a 5-4 contest. Matthew Arnold kicked off the big frame with his two-run triple to right field. Adkins made it a four-run game with his sacrifice fly out to left field and Jacob Miller finished off the frame with a run-scoring base knock that split the game at short.
The Cavaliers continued their torrid hitting pace, plating three runs in the fifth to extend their lead to eight. Adkins double brought home the first run of the inning and an error leading to a dead ball call brought the final two runs home and gave Chatham a 12-4 lead.
Gretna jumped on Chatham early, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Tucker Bailess scored Lucas Burnette with a single to third and two batters later, Drake Daniels doubled down on the Hawks’ lead, driving a single to left field that scored Bailess. With runners on the corner, Gretna seemed poised to add to its lead, but Chatham senior ace and Longwood commit Andrew Potojecki struck out Aaron Crouch to end the threat.
The Cavaliers have operated under a pair of simple mottos this year: All In and never give up. Chatham had both on display in its half of the first. Graham Dalton drove a lead-off double to left and Grayson Reed worked a walk to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Matt Arnold broke the seal for the Cavs with his run-scoring sacrifice fly out to right and Potojecki helped his cause with a single to left that scored Reed and knotted the score at 2-all.
“We know we can swing the bat as a team so when we got down in the top of the first, we just came back in, swing the bat like we always do and score two runs and tie the game,” Adkins said. “Then, we get ahead, and Gretna comes back to tie, then we pull back ahead. But we know as a team that if we keep fighting, we’ll make do and that’s what we did tonight.”
Chatham’s offense continued its torrid streak in the bottom of the second. After Gretna’s Cole Rigney started the frame with a strikeout, Jacob Miller drove a single to center. Another strikeout from Rigney gave the Hawks two outs, but a walk to Dalton kept the frame alive. Reed made Rigney pay for the two-out walk as he drove a double to center that plated Miller and Dalton and gave the Cavaliers a 4-2 edge.
Potojecki once again found himself in some hot water in the third. With two on base and one out, Sean Hammock laced a single to center that brought Burnette and Rigney around and tied the game at four. A walk and bunt single from Crouch put the go-ahead runs on for Gretna, but Potojecki picked off a Hawks’ runner at third and induced a fly out to center to work out of the jam and keep the score tied.
Continuing the see-saw theme, Chatham struck back with a run in the third to pull back in front. Brae Adkins led off the frame with a double and moved to third on a passed ball. Seconds later, Adkins crossed the plate courtesy of a wild pitch that gave the Cavs a 5-4 lead. The Cavaliers loaded the bases courtesy of a pair of walks and fielder’s choice, but Nick Berger made a nice catch on Reynolds’ fly ball and nailed his relay throw home to complete the 9-2 double play and end the threat.
Arnold paced the Cavaliers with a trio of RBI, while Reed, Adkins and Potojecki each drove in a pair of runs as well.
Potojecki got the win on the bump, throwing five innings and striking out six.
Daniel and Hammock paced Gretna with a pair of RBI. Daniel also led the Hawks with a trio of hits.