After being dominated by Childersburg in the first game 11-1, the visiting Tigers battled back to win game two 3-2 on Friday.
“This team has performed better with their backs against the wall and they know that the season is on the line,” said Cleburne County Baughn Lee. “We played Jacksonville and we had to beat them back-to-back to get into the playoffs. We did it, and they were No. 3-ranked team in the state. The same thing tonight, I think our kids hit the button right there that we knew we had to play or it would be over.”
Neither team settled in defensively in the second game. Matt Norton had it going for Cleburne County for the first four innings as he only allowed one hit.
Errors almost cost the Tigers a run in the third inning. Cleburne County’s catcher tried to pick off Isaiah Jones off at first base; the baseball was over thrown and ended up into right field. The error on the catcher allowed Jones a chance to round the bases and make a play towards home plate. Cleburne County’s right fielder threw the ball to the infield to the catcher who threw the ball to the pitcher at home plate to tag Jones out to save a run.
The Tigers of Childersburg finally got on the board in the fifth inning. D.J. Mizzell hit a double to score Jones to give Childersburg a 1-0 lead. An error on the centerfielder on a Chase Smith fly ball allowed Mizzell to score to give Childersburg a 2-0 lead. Dosson Stubblefield had a chance to increase the Tigers lead with the bases loaded, but grounded out the second baseman to end the inning.
Cleburne County also got things going in the bottom half of the frame. Dakota Crumpton led the inning off with a single right up the middle. Tanner Howle hit the ball down the left field line. Cleburne County’s base runner advanced to second and third base on a pass ball by Reeves Brasher. Bentley Cooley hit a grounder that was mishandled by the shortstop to allow a runner to score. Josh Davis hit a two run single to give the visiting Tigers a 3-2 lead.
“All three of the guys rallied that big inning were seniors,” Lee said. “They knew that was it and they stepped up when the occasion rised.”
In the sixth inning Childersburg had two runners on with Cole Limbaugh coming to the plate. Cleburne County decided to take the bat out of Limbaugh’s hands by intentionally walking him to get to Caleb Mims. On the first pitch, Mims hit a grounder to the second baseman to end the threat.
“They made good defensive plays,” said Childersburg head coach Chad Slaten. “We made good defensive plays. They had runners on second and third and they just got one run and they had nobody out. It was a good ball game and they won it. You got to tip your hat to them. We will come back (Saturday) and try to take care of business. I told my guys that I have all the confidence in the world that if they come out ready to play we will be OK.”
Brasher was the losing pitcher for Childersburg. He pitched five innings allowed three runs.
“Reeves (Brasher) is a battler,” Slaten said. “He is going to be good. He is a freshman and he is just going to get better. You throw a freshman out there in game two in the state playoffs and they have a pretty good hitting ball club. He challenged them all night, he didn’t back down and that is why I threw him out there. I was proud of him and I wish we could of got the win for him.”
In the first game of the series Limbaugh was lights out. The senior pitcher struck out eight batters, allowed four hits and one earned run.
“You give the ball to Cole and tell him to go win a game and he did it,” Slaten said. “He is a senior pitcher and that is exactly what Reeves is going to be in a few years. We did what we usually do when Cole is and he is usually on every time and I was proud of that.”
Limbaugh also hit a towering three-run homer into leftfield to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning.
Childersburg added two more runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead.
Brayden Walker got Cleburne County on the board with a bomb over the left field advertising wall to cut Childersburg lead down to 7-1.
Childersburg added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game. Chase Smith’s RBI double made it 9-1. Caleb Smith hit a chopper over the third baseman to allow two runs to score.
Contact LaVonte Young at firstname.lastname@example.org