Tigers victory streak hits a dozen
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
As the leadoff man in the T.R. Miller Tigers lineup, Jacob Salter's primary role is to generate offense.
Most of the time Salter manufactures runs with his speed, but it is Salter's muscle that the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles will remember for a while.
Salter ripped a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning that lifted the Tigers to a 9-8, come-from-behind win over visiting Blue Eagles Friday.
The result actually had no impact on the Class 3A Area 1 season. T.R. Miller (17-4 overall and 5-1 in Area 1) wrapped up the Area 1 championship and a first-round home playoff game Monday when W.S. Neal lost the first game of a doubleheader at Clarke County. That same setback eliminated the Blue Eagles (7-14 overall and 1-4 in Area 1) from the playoff picture.
The Tigers, who have now won 12 straight and climbed to sixth in the 3A state rankings, overcame three W.S. Neal leads en route to the win.
"Our confidence level is way up right now. We've had to come from behind a lot this season and I don't think we panic when we're in that position. Even when (W.S.) Neal had us down by four runs early in the game, our players had the attitude they still had five at bats left and would find a way to win," T.R. Miller coach Jim Hart said.
The first of three Blue Eagle leads occurred in the top of the first inning when an RBI single by Spencer Williamson and an RBI double by Cory Freeman gave W.S. Neal a 2-0 advantage.
Tanner Shehan's two-run double in the bottom of the second inning erased that lead and Baxley Raines' RBI single three batters later gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
Both starting pitchers, Raines for T.R. Miller and Whitney Qualls for W.S. Neal, had to endure long third innings. Both survived a combined 21 hits in the game to go the distance.
Raines was roughed up for five runs in the top half of the frame, which included RBI singles by Williamson and Cory Freeman and a three-run homer by Chad McCall that put the Blue Eagles back in front 7-3.
W.S. Neal's cushion disappeared just about as quickly as it was built. In the bottom half of the third, a two-run double by Justin Marshall, an RBI double by Tanner Shehan and an RBI single by Jordan Cauley knotted the score at 7-7.
The Blue Eagles took their third lead of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Jared Cooper singled and both Josh Danley and Deric Smith were hit by pitches to load the bases. T.R. Miller catcher Jordan Ball tried to catch Smith napping on a pickoff play at first base, but the throw went down the rightfield line. The error allowed Cooper to score and W.S. Neal to move in front 8-7.
The Tigers got that run back in similar fashion in the bottom of the fifth. Salter beat out an infield single, went to second on a groundout, stole third and scored when catcher Justin Smith's throw went into leftfield.
Both T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal will play their final regular season home game Monday. The Tigers will host Monroe County with a 4 p.m. start for junior varsity followed by the varsity game. W.S. Neal entertains Bayside Academy at 4 p.m.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 205 010 0 – 8 9 4
T.R. Miller 034 010 1 – 9 12 3
Tigers blank Jay
Sophomore Mackie Jackson turned in the best pitching performance of his prep career so far Thursday, as he hurled the Tigers to a 7-0 road win over the Jay (Fla.) Royals.
Jackson went the distance on a two-hitter, struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
The Tigers' win avenged a 6-2 loss to Jay in Brewton back in March.
Thursday's rematch was scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when a two-out error on a ball hit by Jacob Salter opened
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Jordan Cauley followed with a single and Baxley Raines walked to load the bases. Jordan Ball and Tyler Shehan delivered back-to-back two-run singles that quickly made it 4-0.
T.R. Miller added to that lead in the sixth inning when Tanner Shehan reached on a fielder's choice and Jacob Salter crunched a two-run homer that made it 6-0.
The Tigers got their final run in the seventh when Raines reached on an error and Ball drove in his third run of the game with a double.
T.R. Miller 000 042 1 – 7 9 1
Jay 000 000 0 – 0 2 3
TRM downs Flomaton
The Tigers notched their second win of the season over Flomaton Tuesday when they downed the visiting Hurricanes 7-4.
T.R. Miller took a 3-1 lead in the first two innings courtesy of an RBI single by Baxley Raines, a run-scoring error and a run-scoring wild pitch, but Flomaton tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning.
A run-scoring wild pitch allowed Becker Denton to score in the bottom of the fourth inning that put T.R. Miller back on top 4-3, this time to stay.
The Tigers then added an RBI single by Tyler Shehan in the fifth inning and RBI singles by Raines and Tyler Shehan again in the sixth that stretched the lead to 7-3.
Allen Williams, the second of three T.R. Miller pitchers, got the win with two innings of relief after starter Jacob Salter went the first three frames. Mackie Jackson went the final two innings.
At T.R. Miller
Flomaton 010 200 1 – 4 5 1
T.R. Miller 210 112 X – 7 11 5
TRM JV splits
The Tigers junior varsity remained at the .500 mark after it split decisions against Flomaton and Jay.
T.R. Miller (3-3) downed Flomaton 10-7 Tuesday. The Tigers were down 5-1 at one point, but a three-run third inning and a four-run fourth inning put T.R. Miller ahead for good.
James Hamric had three hits with an RBI to pace the Tigers, while Corey Williams also had three hits. Stephen Matthews posted a pair of hits and drove in three runs. Chris Griffin had two hits and two RBIs. Matt Hamric and Will Waters both had a hit and an RBI.
James Hamric went the distance for the win, as he allowed five hits and struck out four. Only three of Flomaton's runs were earned.
Jay raced out to a 7-0 lead in the first innings and held on to edge the Tigers 7-6 Thursday.
T.R. Miller, which made four error sin the first two innings, got two hits and two RBIs from Matthews. Corey Williams, Griffin, Waters and Matt Hamric all had a hit. Derek Busby drove in two runs.
Busby allowed just one earned run, but took the loss.