Shane Roebuck blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift Bill's Bit Service to a 7-5 victory Wednesday night at Bailey Park and force a semifinal-deciding Game 3 against Carmichaels.
The game was scheduled for Thursday night at Carmichaels High School at 6 p.m.
"We had the motivation. It was do or die. We needed to win today to keep playing," said Bill's Bit Service manager Nick Groover.
"We know how they're capable of playing," said Carmichaels manager Dickie Krause. "I've been through this a hundred times before. We have to saddle up and get the job done."
Chuck Gasti came on in relief for the Copperheads (17-3) in the bottom of the sixth inning, and quickly recorded two outs.
The first was a 1-4-3 putout on leadoff hitter Reed Long. Cory Lent grounded out to the shortstop for the second out.
However, the third out was elusive when Groover worked a walk and Caleb Dempsey hit a sharp single between third base and shortstop. Roebuck followed with a three-run blast.
Gasti ended the rally with a strikeout.
"Shane had a big game," praised Groover.
Carmichaels, who won 9-3 in the first game, came out firing in the top of the first inning.
Brody Bonadio walked to start the game and Joby Lapkowicz was safe on an error. Kenny Ryan struck out Gasti for the first out, but Tyler Reyes loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch.
Joel Spishock then drilled a double to right field to plate Bonadio and Lapkowicz. Ryan stranded two runners with a strikeout and ground out.
Carmichaels starting pitcher Jacob Kinsell walked a batter in the first inning and hit one in the second, but both runners were stranded at second base. Kinsell struck out five of the six outs. He struck out nine and walked five.
The Copperheads scored a third unearned run in the top of the third inning.
Gasti doubled with one out. Tyler Reyes struck out, but the ball was in the dirt. The throw to first was in time to get Reyes as Gasti sprinted to third base. The throw bounced away from Zach Uhazie and Gasti hustled home for a 3-0 lead.
Roebuck was front and center in the bottom of the inning as Bill's Bit Service (9-11) cut into the deficit.
Jeremy Saliba walked and Reed Long singled to open the inning. Groover walked with one out to load the bases, but Kinsell struck out Caleb Dempsey for the second out.
Roebuck then delivered a two-run single. Uhazie went down swinging for the third out.
"Roebuck had the big two-out hit," said Krause.
The Copperheads countered with a run in the top of the fourth inning.
Tyler Godwin doubled with one out. John Przybylinski walked. Drake Long attempted to bunt the runners ahead, but the spinning ball settled on the chalk for an infield single.
Brody Bonadio lofted a sacrifice fly to score Godwin. Lapkowicz flied out to left field to end the threat.
"We had big at-bats at the plate and didn't deliver. We had several times to hit with guys on base and had failures at the plate too many times," said Krause.
Bill's Bit Service tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Colby Simmons walked to start the inning. Devin Braddock struck out and Austin Bergman walked. Jeremy Saliba singled to right field. Simmons made a wide turn at third base and held. Bergman was caught up midway between second and third base, but both runners were able to safely return to the bag.
Long walked with the bases loaded for the first run and Bergman hustled home on a wild pitch to tie the game.
"We botched a rundown and it cost us a run," said Krause.
Uhazie relieved Ryan in the fifth inning and allowed only two runners in the fifth and sixth innings. He hit Reyes with one out, but struck out the next two batters.
He walked Godwin to open the sixth inning, but his defense turned a double play to erase the runner.
Bill's Bit Service loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but didn't score. Roebuck walked to open the inning and Simmons laced a single off the left field fence. Bergman loaded the bases with a two-out walk, but Saliba popped out to first base to end the inning.
The Copperheads rallied in their last at-bat with Reyes driving in Lapkowicz, but Uhazie struck out Spishock to close the threat and secure the win.
"This was Kenny's best game of the year. Then, Zach shut it down when he came in," said Groover.
Ryan allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits with three strikeouts, a hit batter and two walks. Uhazie pitched the final three innings for the win, allowing one earned run on one hit with three strikeouts, a hit batter and two walks.
Carmichaels won the opener Tuesday night, 9-3, on Lapkowicz's one-hitter. He struck out 15.
Lapkowicz was one out away from a no-hitter and shut out, but Darion Palmer hit a three-run home run to end both hopes.
Godwin and Brody Bonadio both drove in two runs in the victory with Bonadio's two-run double in the second inning breaking the game open.