Defending state champs knock out Tigers on last play
Published 4:12 pm Monday, April 30, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
Chad Crews stole the hero's role away from Baxley Raines, but even more important was the fact the St. James Trojans stole a 4-3 victory away from the T.R. Miller Tigers in Tuesday's opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs played in Montgomery.
Crews doubled home the tying run with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh. Two batters later Crews slid under T.R. Miller catcher Seth Holland's tag with the winning run and sent the defending state champions into the second round against Jackson.
The game's last play was the only time St. James (22-13) led in the contest. The Tigers, who finished with a 17-11 record for the second season in a row, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Becker Denton led off the frame with a hit that most on the T.R. Miller side felt sailed over the wall, but officials ruled the ball got stuck in the fence for a ground-rule double. Mackie Jackson followed with a single and so did Allen Williams, whose hit drove Denton in with the game's first run. Jackson took second on Williams' hit, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.
St. James pitcher Mitch Lawrence helped his own cause in the bottom of the second when he hit a homerun over the left-centerfield wall off Raines that trimmed T.R. Miller's lead in half to 2-1.
The Trojans tied the game the next inning. Singles by Matt Burnside, Matt Dean and Will Martin singled to load the bases. Blaine Joyner hit into a forceout at second base, but that got Joyner home with the tying run.
The Tigers' defense kept the game tied in the bottom of the fifth. Mackie Jackson, who had just taken over for Raines, gave up a one-out walk to Martin, but Joyner hit a groundball to Raines, who started a six-four-three double play.
Raines untied the game in the sixth when he blasted a long homerun over the left-centerfield wall off Lawrence that gave T.R. Miller a 3-2 lead.
T.R. Miller turned its second double play in as many innings in the bottom of the sixth. Jackson gave up an infield single to Lawrence and a one-out walk to Brock Rollins, but he came back to get Trent Green to hit a groundball to Allen Williams at second base. Williams made the short throw to Raines at second and then Raines made the throw on to first to double up Green for the final out of the inning.
The Tigers ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh when Jackson hit Burnside, who had already singled twice, with a pitch to start the inning. Burnside moved into scoring position on a passed ball and scored when Crews doubled into center field.
Jackson got Dean to groundout to Williams, but that allowed Crews to take third. Martin followed with a groundball to Raines, who quickly fired the ball home to Holland, but Crews slid under Holland's tag with the winning run.
At St. James
T.R. Miller 020 001 0 - 3 6 0
St. James 011 000 2 - 4 7 1