A day of seesaw play for TRM

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
It depends on whether or not one looks at a glass as half full or half empty when evaluating the T.R. Miller Tigers baseball team through its first 10 games.
On the pessimistic side, the Tigers have been unable to get on any kind of roll. On the optimistic side, they have played well enough to keep from falling into a big tailspin.
The seesaw may explain why the Tigers are at the .500 mark at 5-5. It may also explain why T.R. Miller divided Monday's three-team doubleheader at Flomaton. The Tigers lost their first game in 10 innings to the Escambia County Blue Devils 9-8, but rebounded in the nightcap to beat the host Flomaton Hurricanes 15-8.
Escambia County 9, T.R. Miller 8
The Tigers let three leads slip away against an Escambia County squad it had ambushed 15-3 just four days earlier.
T.R. Miller wasted a huge and dramatic performance by senior shortstop Baxley Raines. Raines singled and scored in the first inning and tripled and scored in the third inning. His biggest hit though came in the top of the seventh inning when he hit a game-tying, three-run homer when the Tigers were down to their final two outs.
Becker Denton's two-run single in the top of the first inning gave the Tigers their first advantage, but Escambia County's Eric Cokey matched that hit with a two-run single of his own in the bottom half of the inning.
Brice Martin regained the lead for T.R. Miller in the top of the second when he belted a solo homerun. The Tigers extended that lead to 4-2 in the top of the third when Denton's sacrifice fly plated Raines.
Cokey came through with his second two-run single in three innings in the bottom of the third that tied the game at 4-4.
The Tigers got a gift run in the top of the fourth when they took the lead for the final time. Martin struck out, but reached on an error. A wild pitch sent Martin into scoring position where he scored on a single by Kendall Land to make it 5-4.
The Blue Devils took a 7-5 lead with a three-run rally in the bottom of the fourth on a key two-run double by Michael Thomas and an RBI single by Corey Flowers.
Escambia picked an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Jonathan McNeil's RBI single made it 8-5.T.R. Miller's game-tying rally in the seventh inning began with a one-out single by Tanner Shehan. Seth Holland's walk brought up Raines as the potential-tying run and he responded with a three-run shot off Kevin Green.
The Tigers had only one threat in extra innings against reliever Jonathan McNeil. T.R. Miller got a two-out double in the top of the ninth by Seth Holland. The Blue Devils opted not to let Raines burn them again and walked him intentionally. McNeil preserved the deadlock when he got Denton to pop up to the catcher.
Derek Busby, the third of three T.R. Miller pitchers after starter John Mathieu and James Hamric, threw three scoreless innings of relief before Escambia County nicked him for the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Guyel Martin lined a one-out single and Green walked one batter later. Busby fanned Brant Bell for the second out, but Anthony Matthews singled into center field and the Tigers were unable to make a play on Martin as he touched home plate.
T.R. Miller vs. Escambia Co.
TRM 211 100 300 0 - 8 10 1
EC 202 301 000 1 - 9 14 1
T.R. Miller 15, Flomaton 8
The Tigers lashed out 16 hits and hit double digits in runs scored for the fourth time in six games in their victory over the Hurricanes.
A big key for T.R. Miller was the production it received from the number five through nine spots in the lineup. Those positions went just two-for-23 against Escambia County, but that group combined for six hits and reached base 14 times against Flomaton.
The top four spots in the T.R. Miller lineup combined for 10 hits. That included three each by Becker Denton and Seth Holland and two each by Baxley Raines and Tanner Shehan.
A single by Shehan and a double by Denton gave T.R. Miller a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Hurricanes came back with two runs in the top of the second to take their lone lead of the game. Tyler Coleman hit an RBI double and Sam Mize reached on a run-scoring error, one of six errors T.R. Miller made in the game.
The key frame was the bottom of the second when the Tigers took the lead for good with a six-run rally.
Land had an infield RBI single, Shehan had a two-run single, Holland had an RBI single and Denton capped off the frame with a two-run double that made it 7-2.
Derek Busby began his second relief stint of the day in the top of the third after starter Allen Williams went the first two frames. Busby was greeted by a double by Corey Greyson. A wild pitch and an RBI groundout by Caleb Bethea sliced the Tigers' lead to 7-3.
T.R. Miller ran its lead up to 11-3 with four more runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by Holland and a two-run homer by Raines.
While T.R. Miller continued to rack up its share of runs, so did the Hurricanes. Flomaton got an RBI single by Sam Mize and a two-run double by Keegan Lambeth in the top of the fourth that made it 11-6. The Hurricanes picked up an unearned run off Raines, who had relieved Busby the previous inning and picked up the win, in the top of the fifth that made it 11-7.
The Tigers gave themselves some more breathing room in the bottom of the sixth when a four-run uprising made it 15-7. Mackie Jackson had the key hit in the frame, a two-run single. Another run scored when Denton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and another run scored on a wild pitch.
Jackson struck out four over the last two innings in relief for the Tigers, but fell victim to four errors in the top of the seventh that allowed Flomaton to pick up an unearned run for its final tally.
T.R. Miller swings back into Class 4A Area 2 action Friday when it heads to Andalusia for a 4 p.m. doubleheader. Game one will be the Area counter, while game two is the tiebreaker.
T.R. Miller vs. Flomaton
Flomaton 021 310 1 – 8 7 1
T.R. Miller 164 004 X - 15 16 6

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