Diamond Bearcats fall short of playoffsPublished 12:15am Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The Bainbridge High School baseball team fell just short of a playoff spot, after a hard-fought 4-3 loss to the Lee County Trojans in Bainbridge on Tuesday evening.
The Bearcats rallied from being down 3-1, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the ball game. Lee County’s winning run came on a home run in the top of the 10th inning.
The Bearcats faced a do-or-die game against Lee County to see who would clinch the fourth and final state playoff berth from Region 1-AAAA. After sweeping Thomas County Central last Thursday night, the Bearcats had taken a two-game lead for fourth place in the region. However, Lee County then proceeded to sweep Central over the weekend, evening the two teams’ region records heading into Tuesday’s game.
Bainbridge wrapped up its season on Thursday night, losing to non-region opponent Tift County 6-0 in Bainbridge.
Lee County 4, Bainbridge 3 (10 innings)
Despite the four runs allowed, Bainbridge was led with strong pitching performances by Rion Murrah and Tate Lambert, who came on in relief for Murrah. Each pitched five innings of the game.
Lambert had 10 strikeouts and Murrah had four.
Murrah helped his own cause with three hits, while Blake Voyles had single and an RBI triple. Grant McDonald also had two hits. Jake Goodson was walked twice.
Down 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, Voyles hit a triple to left-center field, scoring Michael Faircloth from first base.
Later in the inning, Ben Day singled up the middle and the second baseman had trouble fielding the ball, which allowed Voyles to score the tying run.
Day moved up to second base after the Trojans’ pitcher had a wild pickoff throw to first. Jake Goodson was intentionally walked, but a new pitcher for Lee County prevented the Bearcats from getting any more runs.
The Bearcats threatened to have a big inning in the bottom of the eighth. Jackson Jones singled then moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Faircloth was hit by a pitch and then Voyles was intentionally walked to load the bases. However, Bainbridge was unable to capitalize.
Lee County’s Andrew Stroud hit a home run in the top of the 10th inning to clinch the victory.
The game was marked by some bizarre plays.
In the bottom of fourth, the Trojans had seemingly ended the inning on a double play and had started to go back to their dugout. But an umpire ruled that Lee’s shortstop hadn’t touched second base. Bainbridge’s McDonald rounded third in the confusion and was headed for home when he stumbled, allowing Lee County to catch him in a run-down. However, McDonald eluded the third baseman’s tag and scored the Bearcats’ first run.
In the top of the seventh, a Bainbridge scorekeeper alerted coach Brian McCorkle that a Lee County batter had three strikes against him, although the umpires were only counting two. After some discussion and explanation, the batter was called out.
Tift County 6, Bainbridge 0
Against Tift County, Bainbridge’s Jake Goodson had three hits, including a double. Matt Burke had two walks and Murrah also walked. Ryals Smith also had a double.
Goodson pitched three innings and took the loss, notching three strikeouts.
With the losses, the Bearcats’ overall record is 12 wins, 14 losses.
In addition to Lee County, the other three teams advancing to the state playoffs are region champion Hardaway of Columbus, Harris County and Northside-Columbus.