Thursday, April 24, 2008
Indians win game one
By BARRY BURLESON
Byhalia’s Chris Hill said his “heart dropped” in the top of the seventh inning when the Indians gave up an eight-run lead.
But a few minutes later the shock turned to celebration.
Hill delivered a game-winning triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. It scored teammate Cody Wiley, who had singled to right field. Byhalia opened the playoffs Saturday with a dramatic 12-11 win at home over Charleston in a best-of-three series.
“It was a fast ball, and I was trying to hit it out,” said an excited Hill. “It felt good.”
The Indians’ 11-3 advantage going into the last inning seemed secure. But the Tigers didn’t roll over and play dead. Behind six hits and three Byhalia errors, they rallied to tie at 11.
“That’s what errors will do for you,” head coach Bubba Brown said. “You make two or three and they get right back in it, plus they hit the ball well that inning, too.”
But thank goodness for Hill. His blast that bounced off the center field fence saved the day.
“It was time for me to step up and hit the ball,” he said.
Actually, Hill stepped up more than once on the afternoon. He had three hits, including another triple in the first inning that scored two runs.
Andrew Brown’s double in the second also scored two and upped the margin to 4-0.
The Tigers cut the deficit to 4-2 in the top of the third, courtesy of two Byhalia blunders.
The Indians tallied three in the bottom of the fourth, two coming on Hill’s single up the middle. He had five runs-batted-in for the day.
Charleston added a run in the fifth on two walks and a ground ball.
It remained 7-3 until the bottom of the sixth. That’s when the Indians seemed to ice the victory with four more runs. Pat Malone led off with a single. Tavaris Neal followed a double and RBI. Then Wiley singled for another RBI. Lamarcus Hardaway doubled with two outs to score another run. The final run in the inning crossed home plate thanks to a Tiger error.
Next came the wild and crazy seventh, which Byhalia survived.
Lefty Dean Miller went the distance for the pitching win. He struck out eight.
His curve ball was working early.
“He got tired about the sixth inning,” Coach Brown said, “but he pushed on.”
Joining Hill with three hits in the game were both Malone and Wiley. Hardaway and Neal added two hits each.
The series swung to Charleston Monday (after the sports section deadline) for a doubleheader, if needed. One more win would push the Indians into round two of the Class 3A playoffs.
The winner of the Byhalia-Charleston series will face the Nettleton-Mooreville survivor this week.
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