Tigers miss chance to win EC title

Published 7:10 pm Monday, April 24, 2006

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
The Flomaton Hurricanes stunned the T.R. Miller Tigers and got some help from an unlikely source to win Saturday's Escambia County Tournament championship.
T.R. Miller entered Saturday's play in need of a victory over Flomaton to win the title outright, but the Tigers squandered a six-run lead over the last three innings and fell 10-9.
The Hurricanes won the tournament when Escambia County surprised defending champion W.S. Neal 10-8. W.S. Neal had beaten Escambia County twice prior to Saturday's decision.
Flomaton and T.R. Miller both finished the tournament 2-1, but the Hurricanes won the championship based on their head-to-head victory. Escambia County and W.S. Neal both finished 1-2, but the Blue Devils got the third place nod on their head-to-head win.
T.R. Miller 6, Escambia Co. 4
Baxley Raines belted a three-run homer and added an RBI single to lead the Tigers to their first-round win over Escambia County.
T.R. Miller was down 1-0 in the top of the third when Mikel Riggs and Tanner Shehan singled prior to Raines' three-run blast.
The Tigers' lead was down to 3-2 in the top of the fifth when T.R. Miller posted another three-run frame. Shehan reached on an error and scored on another error. Jordan Cauley followed with a double and scored on a single by Raines. Raines later scored on a wild pitch that made it 6-2.
Allen Williams went the first five innings for the win, as he allowed four runs on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts. Cauley hurled two scoreless and hitless innings of relief for a save.
T.R. Miller vs. Escambia Co.
T.R. Miller 003 030 0 – 6 9 1
Escambia Co. 101 020 0 – 4 9 2
W.S. Neal 4, Flomaton 3
The Blue Eagles broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning, as they posted their fourth win of the season over Flomaton.
Jared Cooper reached on an infield error with one out and stole second. After Jake Smith fanned, Whitney Qualls reached on an error by the second baseman that enabled the go-ahead and the eventual winning run to score.
Justin Smith scored two of W.S. Neal's runs, one of which came on a solo homerun.
Qualls struck out nine and scattered six hits in a complete game win.
W.S. Neal vs. Flomaton
Flomaton 100 002 0 – 3 6 4
W.S. Neal 111 001 X – 4 5 1
T.R. Miller 8, W.S. Neal 1
Mackie Jackson threw a complete game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts to lead the Tigers to an 8-1 win over W.S. Neal in Friday's second round.
The only person in the Blue Eagles lineup who could solve Jackson was Eric Howell, who had all three W.S. Neal hits with a pair of singles and a double. It was also Howell who scored the lone run for the Blue Eagles in the top of the first inning when he walked, went to second when Spencer Williamson was hit by a pitch, stole third and scored on a throwing error on the play.
That lead held until the bottom of the third inning when T.R. Miller's Tanner Shehan walked, stole second and scored when Baxley Raines dropped a double in between three W.S. Neal defenders in leftfield.
Blue Eagles starting pitcher Josey Brown fell victim to an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth when the Tigers took the lead for good. Wade McCall singled. Courtesy runner Kendall Land was balked to second and went to third on a wild pitch. Land scored when Justin Marshall's two-out flyball into rightfield was misplayed for an error.
The Tigers racked out six hits in a five-run fifth inning that broke the game open. Jordan Cauley and Raines both singled, while Becker Denton hit an RBI double into leftfield to make it 3-1. After Jackson walked, Seth Holland lined an RBI single t make it 4-1. McCall's two-run single made it 6-1, and it also ended Brown's day on the mound. Marshall made it 7-1 with an RBI single against reliever Josh Sawyer.
Raines came up with his third hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth with a long homerun over the rightfield wall that made it 8-1.
T.R. Miller vs. W.S. Neal
W.S. Neal 100 000 0 – 1 3 1
T.R. Miller 001 151 X – 8 11 1
Flomaton 10, T.R. Miller 9
The Tigers (14-8) led 8-2 headed into the bottom of the fifth, 9-5 headed into the bottom of the sixth and 9-8 headed into the bottom of the seventh only to see the Hurricanes storm back.
Flomaton tied the game when Jonathan Mize walked with one out and Clay Simpson tripled him home. Dannon Lisenby hit a liner back to T.R. Miller pitcher Baxley Raines, who dove and knocked the ball. Raines tried to throw Lisenby out at the plate, but Lisenby slid under the tag to win it.
Raines staked the Tigers to the lead when he belted a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. He later added an RBI single. Hayes Peace had a two-run single, Allen Williams added an RBI double and Wade McCall had an RBI single.
T.R. Miller vs. Flomaton
T.R. Miller 220 041 0 – 9 8 5
Flomaton 020 033 2 – 10 10 5
Escambia Co. 10, W.S. Neal 8
The Blue Eagles would have won the tournament if they had beaten Escambia County and held the Blue Devils to two runs or less.
That opportunity disappeared in the second inning when Escambia County started a string of six unanswered runs and wiped out what had been a 3-2 lead for W.S. Neal.
Jared Cooper and Justin Smith both homered and had three hits to lead the Blue Eagles (16-7).
W.S. Neal vs. Escambia Co.
Escambia Co. 212 031 1 – 10 9 1
W.S. Neal 300 040 1 – 8 13 4
All-Tournament Team
Flomaton's Clay Simpson won the All-Tournament Most Valuable Player Award. He was joined on the team by teammates Dannon Lisenby, Will Hines and Jonathan Mize, T.R. Miller's Becker Denton, Baxley Raines and Mackie Jackson, Escambia County's Chris Frost and Jonathan McNeil, and W.S. Neal's Whitney Qualls.