Youngblood makes game-saving catch
When it comes to sports, just a matter of inches or a few feet can mean the difference in winning and losing. The Tigers experienced the painful side of being “that close” to winning a game and instead watched as the Rangers celebrated a game-saving catch by centerfielder Grant Youngblood. The result went from being a game-winning three-run home run off the bat of Will Smith to a SportsCenter-type moment for Youngblood and the Rangers, who ended up winning 8-7 in the 11-12 Division.
With the score favoring the Rangers (8-7), the Tigers rallied and seemed to gain the upper hand. They had runners on second and third, just one out and the heart of their order at the plate. Will Smith jumped on a 2-1 pitch and mashed it toward the right-centerfield fence. With the speedy Youngblood giving chase, the hit looked to be headed for a game-winning, three-run home run. But at the last moment, Youngblood leaped, stretched out his glove and snagged the ball for what could be the league’s defensive play of the year. No runner scored, so, following an intentional walk to Jonathan Lucas that loaded the bases, Ranger pitcher Lane Clark coaxed a strikeout to bring a thrilling end to one of the most exciting games of the year.
The Rangers got a 3-for-4 effort at the plate from Clark, while Christian Mancil had a triple and made a great defensive play at third base. Both Landon Salter (2B) and Garrett Salter added hits as well. Tim McDonald, Landon Salter and Clark combined to strike out six.
For the hard-luck Tigers, who have lost five one-run games, Jordan Williams led a 10-hit attack with a 3-for-4 effort that included an RBI. Duncan Brittain had two hits, including an RBI double, while Will Smith aded a pair of hits and an RBI. Austin Holmes (2B), Markail Mitchell and Noah Morris (RBI) all had hits as well.
Braves 9, Marlins 8
With a chance to make this division a three-way fight for first place, the Marlins came up just short when the Braves’ Matthew Bradford ripped a single in the final inning that drove in the tying and game-winning runs to lead the league-leading Braves to the victory.
With the Marlins leading the entire game, Logan Bush came in to pitch the last two innings for the Braves and struck out five batters to keep the game within reach and allow for Bradford’s late-inning heroics. Both teams got sterling performances from their catchers, as the Braves Steven McCall and the Marlins’ Todd Watson both made great plays to save several runs.
The Marlins’ offense, which staked its team to a 5-0 first-inning lead, got hits from Andrew Etheridge, Gibb Roberts and Garrett Cave.
Little League Softball
Thunder 28, Force 12
In a game played earlier at the YMCA Sports Park, the Thunder won its fifth straight game in Brewton Little League Softball action.
Using a 13-hit second-inning, the Thunder sent 29 batters to the plate and broke open an early 5-5 tie game. Lizzy Pollitte went the distance on the mound for the Thunder (5-1) to get the win, and helped her own cause by slapping a pair of hits and driving in five runs. Shanika Tinker also had a big night at the plate, with three hits – including an inside-the-park home run, six RBIs and four runs scored. Molly Jackson contributed two hits, including double, and had three RBIs and four runs scored, while Baily Ellis (2B), Brittney Warren, Natalie Clayton also had big hits.
The Force was led by Courtney Lisenby and Molly McConaughy, each of whom was 2-for-2 with three RBIs and tho runs scored. Alexis Walker added two hits and an RBI, while Baleigh Black cracked a two-run double to left field and scored a run. Erin Wade contributed a two-run hit and Madalyn Barnes, Morgan Manning and Leslie Holmes added hits.