Opp ends TRM’s baseball season Saturday
By Andrew Garner
T.R. Miller couldn’t overcome mistakes in the field and Opp’s powerful hitting game as the Tigers fell 11-4 on Saturday in game three of the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Merchants Field in Opp.
The Bobcats scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning after taking a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning.
When the Tigers led 2-1 in the third inning, the game started going “up hill” for them.
There were four separate instances where the Tigers were caught out on base or at home. A tag out at home took place in the first inning when T.R. Miller tried for a 1-1 tie after Opp took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the frame.
Behind starting pitcher Conner Denton, the Tigers’ defense didn’t back him up, coach Jim Hart said.
“We pitched well enough in the ball game, but we didn’t play defense for the little man (Denton),” Hart said. “He kept the ball down and got us some ground balls. We didn’t make the plays.”
T.R. Miller’s bats grew cold in the next two innings as it was a three-up, three-down show for the Bobcats.
The difference of the game on Saturday was Opp’s 14 hits compared to T.R. Miller’s five, Hart said.
“When they get 14 hits and we can’t get but five against a team like this, it’s an uphill battle,” he said. “My hat is off to them. They swung it. They must’ve gotten 34-to-35 hits in three ball games. That’s hard to deal with. We did not swing it like we’ve been doing. We wish them the best of luck. They did a heck of a job.”
There were several opportunities for the Tigers to get some runs across, but they fell through, especially in the sixth and seventh innings when the Bobcats made diving plays in the outfield to spark outs.
Opp scored six runs in the sixth inning on four hits and one error to take a 9-2 lead and put the game out of reach for the Tigers.
“Their kids fought real hard,” Hart said about Opp. “My hat is off to them. Like I said, they fought hard and our kids fought hard. We don’t have any quit in us. Like the Bayside (Academy) game. You get down there and you go down 9-0, and come back and win the game. We felt like we could scrap. We just didn’t swing the bats well enough.”
T.R. Miller scored one run in the sixth inning off of Darby Black’s ground out, and added one run in the seventh off of Caleb McAnally’s fly out that scored Collin Graves.
Caleb Dickey went 2-for-3 to lead the Tigers; and Graves went 2-for-4.
The Tigers split with the Bobcats in the first two games of the series, claiming a 5-2 victory in the first game, but fell 6-5 in the second game to force the decider.
Hart said he felt good about changing it up in the second game after Davis threw the win.
“We got behind a little bit, and we fought back and had a chance there at the end of the (second) game,” he said. “You’ve got to take advantage and you’ve got to do the things, that, when they come to you, you’ve got to take advantage and we didn’t.
“We did not hit the ball well enough to beat them in those two games and that was the difference,” he said.
The Tigers allowed one run in the first inning on a hit from Opp’s Russell Moseley that scored Trey Short, who reached on a single.
The No. 7 Tigers of T.R. Miller ended their season with an 18-9 record.
Game one: TRM 5, Opp 2
In the first game of the series, T.R. Miller used a three-run fourth inning along with the pitching of Kevin Davis to get a 5-2 win and take an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Davis earned the win on the mound going all seven innings and allowing two earned runs, five hits, struck out 17, hit one and walked three.
Both teams were tied 1-1 after the first inning before T.R. Miller scored one in the third and three in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.
Opp added one in their bottom half of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 5-2, but neither team would score again as the Tigers won by three.
T.R. Miller’s five runs came on six hits and one Bobcat error.
Collin Graves was 1-for-3 with two RBIs while Conner Denton was 2-for-3.
Davis was 1-for-1 with two runs scored.
Game two: Opp 6, TRM 5
In the second game of the series Friday night, Opp edged out the Tigers 6-5 to even the series and force a deciding game Saturday.
Opp scored one run in each of the four innings while T.R. Miller scored two in the bottom of the third to trail 4-2 after four innings.
After a scoreless fifth for both teams, Opp scored one in the top of the sixth to take a 5-2 lead but T.R. Miller added three in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 5-all.
In the top of the seventh, Opp scored the winning run to get the win by one.
Tyler Dehoff took the loss on the mound going 3 1/3 innings and allowing four runs, all earned, 11 hits, walked none and struck out three.
Darby Black went 3 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs, four hits, walked two, hit two and struck out six.
At the plate, T.R. Miller scored five runs on three hits and one error.
Caleb Dickey went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and scored two runs while Graves was 1-for-4 with one RBI.
T.R. Miller’s two runs in the third inning came from five walks.
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