Scotland County looked in control early on Wednesday night in the Class 2 District 15 title game in Memphis, but ultimately had to battle back and then hold off one final Putnam County rally to advance in the state playoffs.
SCR-I fell behind 1-0 before rallying for a 4-1 lead, only to then fall behind 5-4 before authoring another comeback to win 9-7. It was a roller coaster ride that ended with plenty of excitement as the Tigers rallied in their final at bat only to have to deal with Putnam County trimming the deficit back to two runs and ultimately leaving the bases loaded.
Early on, the two squads locked in a pitchers’ duel, playing three scoreless innings before Putnam County finally broke on top of the top of the fourth.
The Midgets loaded the bases with nobody out courtesy of a leadoff single and back-to-back walks. A squeeze bunt forced in a run before SCR-I was able to record a pair of outs at the plate and escape trailing just 1-0.
The defensive momentum carried over to the plate, where SCR-I’s bats came alive in the bottom of the frame. Parker Triplett led off with a double. Walks to Will Fromm and Kaden Anders loaded the bases for Jacob McDaniel. The senior delivered with a two-run single. Brady Curry made it 3-1 with an RBI single.
The Tigers extended the lead in the fifth. Branton Burrus doubled and after a walk to Fromm, Anders came through with a two out hit to plate Burrus before Fromm was nailed at the plate, extending the margin to 4-1.
The game looked to have unraveled for the Tigers in the top of the sixth when an apparent double play comebacker to the mound that would have ended the inning, went astray for SCR-I and both runners were safe. A second SCR-I error opened the door for four unearned Midget runs and Putnam County pulled ahead 5-4.
That appeared to take the wind out of SCR-I’s sails, as the first two batters were retired to start the bottom of the sixth. But a walk to Curry started what proved to be a five-run two-out rally. Preston Sanchez crushed an RBI double to tie the game at 5-5. Grant McRobert followed with an RBI single to plate pinch runner Corbyn Spurgeon. After walks to Triplett and Burrus, Fromm missed a grand slam by just feet, doubling off the right center field fence to plate two more runs. Walks to Anders and McDaniel pushed the lead to 9-5.
Burrus, who relieved Fromm to get out of the sixth inning, came back to the mound and battled with, what was by nearly all accounts from both teams, a very small strike zone by the home plate umpire.
The Midgets worked out four walks and took advantage of an SCR-I error to plate a pair of runs before Burrus recorded a strikeout to start the SCR-I celebration.
Fromm went 5 and 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, just one earned, on five hits and seven walks while striking out six.
Burrus picked up the win in relief, going 1 1/3 innings and allowing two unearned runs on just one hit and four walks while striking out two.
Curry went 2-2 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Fromm was 1-2 with a double and two RBI and McDaniel went 1-3 with three RBIs.