Two-out, seventh inning rally lifts Andalusia past Tigers
Published 1:30 pm Monday, April 9, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
Whether they won or lost, the T.R. Miller Tigers' postseason fate was not going to be decided Friday night. However, their 5-4 loss to the visiting Andalusia Bulldogs certainly made the playoff road a lot tougher.
T.R. Miller (10-8 overall and 1-3 in Class 4A Area 2) can still make the postseason field if it wins its last two Class 4A Area 2 games against Hillcrest at home Tuesday and against W.S. Neal at home Friday plus a W.S. Neal loss at Andalusia on April 17. W.S. Neal can clinch the Area's second and other playoff berth if it wins at T.R. Miller or at Andalusia. Friday's win clinched the Area championship and a first-round home playoff game for the Bulldogs (15-8 overall and 5-0 in Area play).
Friday's game was arguably the toughest setback of the season for the Tigers. T.R. Miller had a 4-2 lead with two outs in the seventh inning only to watch Andalusia string together a decisive three-run rally.
T.R. Miller starting hurler Mackie Jackson, who threw 144 pitches overall including 42 in the seventh inning, got Jeffery Etheridge to ground out to start the seventh inning. Andalusia's comeback started with a one-out single by Aaron Haag, who went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball.
Jackson got Taylor Culbreth to fly out for the second out, but opposing hurler Matt Mellown kept the Bulldogs alive and brought Andalusia a run closer with an RBI single. Cory Dukes also singled and Ryan Godwin took a three-two pitch for a walk that loaded the bases.
James Hogg hit a shot deep into the hole that T.R. Miller shortstop Baxley Raines prevented from going into the outfield, but the infield hit plated Mellown with the tying run. Justin Ainsworth followed with another grounder, this one to the left side of Raines. Raines made the short toss to second baseman Allen Williams, but the umpire said the throw pulled Williams off the bag. Meanwhile Dukes came in with the go-ahead
and what proved to be winning run.
It was also an error that helped the Bulldogs take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Nic Cooper walked, stole second and went to third when Etheridge beat out an infield single. Both runners scored when Culbreth's infield grounder to Denton at third base was thrown away.
The Tigers, who had a five-game winning streak snapped with the loss, got those runs back in the bottom of the second.
Denton walked and Williams beat out an infield hit. Andalusia catcher Justin Ainsworth tried to pick Denton off second base, but threw the ball into center field. Denton came in to score on the play and Williams followed him home two batters later when Will Waters stroked an RBI single.
T.R. Miller took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of third when Tanner Shehan walked, Seth Holland beat out a bunt single and Denton hit a two-run double.
The Tigers, who played a three-team doubleheader Saturday at Gulf Shores against the host team and Davidson, host Hillcrest-Evergreen Tuesday at 4 p.m.
At T.R. Miller
Andalusia 200 000 3 – 5 9 2
T.R. Miller 022 000 0 – 4 6 2
Hamric throws perfect game
James Hamric threw a perfect game and struck out 11, as the Tigers pummeled the host Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars 25-0 in five innings Tuesday.
Hamric, who only had to throw 52 pitches to get his no-hitter, had the unusual luxury of taking a 14-0 lead to the mound before he even threw a pitch in the bottom of the first inning.
T.R. Miller sent 17 batters to the plate in the opening frame where it lashed out seven hits and received seven walks from the Hillcrest pitching staffs.
Three of T.R. Miller's first inning hits went for extra bases, which included a two-run homer by Baxley Raines. Brice Martin and Tanner Shehan added RBI doubles.
The Tigers later tacked on five more runs in the second, four more in the third and two more in the fourth on their way to the easy win.
T.R. Miller (14)54 20 - 25 22 0
Hillcrest 000 00 – 0 0 5