Third time isn't a charm for Tigers
Published 9:07 pm Monday, May 8, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
It will officially read the season ended for the T.R. Miller Tigers baseball team when they lost game two of the best-of-three series to the Montgomery Academy Eagles 9-3 Friday.
Ask coach T.R. Miller coach Jim Hart and the response will be his team's hopes faded with their 8-7 loss in game one.
It was the second and third setbacks of the season for T.R. Miller against Montgomery Academy (20-10), and it marked the third year in a row the Eagles have knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs. Last year Montgomery Academy also knocked T.R. Miller out in the quarterfinal round. Two years ago the Eagles prevailed in the second round.
T.R. Miller now has plenty of time to reflect on the game one loss where it lost three leads against Montgomery Academy ace pitcher Tripp Swann, who beat the Tigers on a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 6-1 win earlier this season.
The Tigers jumped on Swann and the Eagles for a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game one on an RBI single by Mackie Jackson and a two-run single by Justin Marshall.
That advantage lasted only until Montgomery Academy batted in the bottom half of the inning. T.R. Miller pitcher Baxley Raines had some early control problems, as he walked four in that frame. That helped fuel a four-run rally by Montgomery Academy, which got a sacrifice fly by Davis Wedgeworth and an RBI single by Joe Fine. The Eagles also scored twice on an infield error.
Becker Denton, who had four hits in game one, put T.R. Miller back in front in the second inning when his two-run single put the Tigers up 5-4.
That lead also disappeared as soon as Montgomery Academy went back to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Phillip Brinson was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on an RBI groundout by Swann.
The Tigers took their third lead of the game in the fourth when Tanner Shehan reached on an error and scored on a single by Denton. T.R. Miller extended its lead to 7-5 in the fifth when Allen Williams walked and scored when a ball hit by Jordan Cauley was misplayed.
Wedgeworth cut the lead to 7-6 in the bottom half of the fifth with a solo homerun. The Eagles tied it later in the inning when a walk to Trey Holtsford eventually led to an RBI single by Alan Bishop.
Montgomery Academy won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when Swann led off the inning with an infield single and took second on a throwing error. Raines fanned Wedgeworth, but Holtsford lined a single that plated Swann.
The Eagles, who will play either Dadeville or Alabama Christian this coming weekend in the semifinals, led game two from start to finish.
Montgomery Academy got three runs in the top of the first inning against Tigers starting hurler Mackie Jackson. The key blow was a two-run single by Thomas Tyson.
Jackson was able to avoid further damage until the top of the fifth when a two-run single by Wedgeworh made it 5-0.
The Tigers finally broke through against Montgomery Academy pitcher Albert Copeland in the bottom of the fifth when RBI singles by Williams and Shehan cut the gap to 5-2.
Any comeback hopes T.R. Miller had faded in the top of the sixth when Montgomery Academy scored three times courtesy of two wild pitches and a throwing error that made it 8-2.
The Eagles ran their lead to 9-2 in the top of the seventh on Robbie Seip's RBI single. Hayes Peace singled and scored T.R. Miller's final run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Tigers closed out their season with a 17-11 record.
T.R. Miller 320 110 0 – 7 6 4
Mo. Academy 410 020 1 – 8 7 3
T.R. Miller 000 020 1 – 3 8 1
Mo. Academy 300 023 1 – 9 11 1