Here are the top moments for the Athens Bulldogs for the 2018-19 school year.

1. Baseball wins district title with walk-off double, May 22

The Athens Bulldogs were down to the final out of their season when sophomore Peyton Gail stepped to the plate.

Athens trailed Warren 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth in a Division II district championship game in front of a big crowd at Bob Wren Stadium.

Gail came up with the bases loaded. On the second pitch of the at-bat, he sent a rocket to deep right-center field.

The ball found outfield grass, allowing Jack Cornwell and Finn Mitchell to score to give Athens the dramatic 5-4 victory.

The Bulldogs mobbed Gail at second base, as his walk-off double sent them to a Southeast District championship.

It was the third district title in four seasons for Athens, which was pushed to the brink by Warren.

Athens scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to lead 3-2.

Junior Nate Trainer was an out away from a complete-game victory when the Warriors’ Brett Gandee hit a two-out single to tie the game, and force extra innings.

Gandee again came through with a two-out single, this time in the ninth inning to give the Warriors a 4-3 lead.

Cornwell started Athens’ comeback with a one-out single, and Eli Kennedy and Carson Baker drew walks to load the bases.

Gail would then come up huge, sending Athens to the regional tournament.

2. Boys basketball wins at Alexander, February 2

The Athens Bulldogs and Alexander Spartans were locked in a tight battle for Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division supremacy for most of the 2018-19 boys’ basketball season.

The back-and-forth battle was eventually won by Athens, thanks to a road win in front of a packed Saturday-night crowd at Alexander’s Alley.

Athens used strong defense for a 53-38 victory at Alexander High School in early February. The two teams were tied in league play at 8-1 going into the game.

The win allowed Athens to sweep the season series, and take a giant step toward what would ultimately be an outright league championship.

Athens’ championship team was a balanced group, and its biggest regular season game of the year was no different.

Eli Chubb led Athens in scoring on this night with 14 points, making all 12 of his free throw attempts. Elijah Williams had 12 points and Justin Hynes each scored 12 points, while Logan Maxfield added 11 points.

Athens was able to hold Alexander to 30.2 percent shooting on its home court — 13 of 43.

Athens trailed 29-27 with 4:01 left in the third quarter, but went on a 17-2 run over the next 9 minutes and 44 seconds to take control of the TVC-Ohio race.

3. Boys’ basketball wins sectional title, Feb. 22.

The Bulldogs’ 2018 season ended in disappointment, an overtime loss in the sectional finals against Vinton County.

A year later, the Bulldogs found redemption.

Athens won its sectional championship game in 2019, returning to Logan High School and this time winning an overtime thriller.

Athens was able to outlast Logan Elm, 43-40, to return to the district tournament.

The 17th win of the season allowed Athens to cut down the nets at Logan’s Jym Myers Gymnasium.

The win almost didn’t happen, as Athens trailed 39-36 with 1:25 left in regulation.

Elijah Williams was able to sink two free throws to cut the deficit to one point, then he came up with a steal on the defensive end.

That eventually led to Justin Hynes getting to the foul like and splitting a pair of free throws with 16.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Once in overtime, the Bulldogs held Logan Elm to a single point. Eli Chubb found Hynes for a layup to give Athens the early OT lead, and the Braves never forced a tie from there.

Logan Maxfield’s drive to the basket resulted in Athens taking a 43-40 lead with 1:59 left. The Bulldogs were able to defend a last-second corner 3 from Logan Elm, then celebrate the sectional championship after a year’s wait.

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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