Thursday, May 10, 2012
Chris Casto’s pinch-hit, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth sent the game into extra innings for Northwest, but it was visiting and 17th-ranked Hinds who scored four runs in the top of the 10th to knock off the Rangers 11-7 and win Game 2 of a best-of-three series, 2-0.
Hinds improved to 31-16 and will move on to the state tournament round May 10-12 in Fulton, while Northwest’s up-and-down season came to a close at 25-23.
Just as they did in the opening game of the series, Northwest jumped all over the Eagles in the first inning.
Bradley Noland, Austin Overall and Dex Herrington connected on back-to-back-to-back solo home runs to right field off starting pitcher Carey Taylor and the Rangers were quickly ahead, 3-0.
But Taylor and the Eagles settled in the ensuing innings and regained the upper hand, using Tyler Akins’ two-run single in the third as part of six unanswered runs over the third, fourth and fifth innings. Chris Jones added his second home run in as many games, while Pierson Waring chipped in a two-out, two-run double as Hinds enjoyed a 6-3 lead after five.
After retiring 10 consecutive batters at one point and hanging five consecutive zeros on the scoreboard, Taylor gave up a leadoff single to Walt McCullough in the bottom of the seventh which marked the Rangers’ first hit since the first inning.
Northwest added back-to-back singles from Justin Rose and Josh Johnson to load the bases, and pulled within 6-4 after McCullough came around to score on a throwing error.
Hinds responded with a single run in the eighth to stretch the lead back to 7-4, again taking advantage of a mental mistake by the Rangers.
With their backs against the wall and Northwest down to its final three outs, the Rangers rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Rose reached on a walk and Johnson drew a hit-by-pitch, allowing Casto to smash a no-doubter to rightfield to knot the game at 7-7 and force extras.
But Hinds would put the game out of reach in the 10th, chasing reliever Colt Burns and scoring three runs off Jim Tom Copeland. Jones again delivered the knockout punch with two outs, doubling to right-center to score a pair of runs.
The Northwest Rangers were then retired in order in their half.
Hinds out-hit Northwest 16-9. Northwest was paced by Noland’s two hits and Casto’s three RBIs while eight different Rangers had a hit.
Dex Herrington, who went one-for-five in the game, became the 18th Ranger in school history with 100 career hits, launching a home run to left in the first inning.
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