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Tigers edge Bearcats in three-game marathon

The Harris County High School Tigers downed the Bainbridge High School Bearcats 10-2, after the teams split a pair of one-run, extra-inning encounters Saturday, ending the Bearcats’ season.

Coach Scott Miller’s Bearcats, the No. 2 team in Region 1AAAA South, and the Tigers, the No. 3 team in Region 1AAAA North, were supposed to play a Friday night double header with a third and deciding game if needed on Saturday. The best-out-of-three series was to determine who would move on to a berth in the state AAAA tournament.

Friday’s double header was rained out; however, necessitating three games to be played on Saturday.

Bearcats third baseman Tyler Hutchins homered over the fence in deep left center in the bottom of the third to pull the Bearcats to within two, at 4-2, in the third and deciding game.

Shortstop Drew Day, who reached on a fielder’s choice, was aboard when he connected.

Leading 7-2 going into the top of the sixth, the Tigers rallied for their final three runs.

Andrew Fears led off with a double to center and came around to score the eighth run. A two-run double by Cole Johnson drove in the ninth run. Cody Sheddy came in with the 10th run on a wild pitch.

The Bearcats made a tremendous comeback before bowing 12-11 in the first game. Trailing 9-3 going to the bottom of the fourth, they rallied for three runs to cut it to 9-6.

Tigers pitcher Ty Inlow gave his team an early 2-0 lead with a two-run home run over the center field fence in the top of the second. Walter Barreman, who doubled to left, was aboard when he connected.

Right fielder Caden Black walked to start the inning and moved to second when left fielder Ryan Wade was safe on an error.

With one away, catcher Drew Kelley flew out to the fence in deep left as Black tagged up and moved to third.

A Hutchins’ single to left drove in Black and cut the lead to 9-4.

First baseman Parker Heard got the Bearcats to within three, at 9-6, when he doubled to right driving in Wade and Hutchins.

Designated hitter Blake Voyles followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second. Second baseman Steven Bench also drew a walk to load the bases before the side was retired.

The Tigers scored a run in the top of the sixth to increase their lead to 10-6. It was scored by Andrews Fears, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and came in on a single to left by Matthew Fears.

The Bearcats rallied for four in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game 10-10 and send it to extra innings.

Left fielder Ryan Wade started the inning with a hard ground single up the middle. With one away, Kelley beat out an infield single to short. Stephen Lightfoot came on as a courtesy runner for Kelley.

Hutchins then hit a three-run homer over the right field fence, his first of three round-trippers on the day, to cut the lead to 10-9.

Heard followed with a single and Voyles blasted a double, driving him home with the tying run.

With two away in the top of the eighth, Matthew Fears doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice to put the Tigers out front 11-10.

Designated hitter Cody Milner got the 12th run home with a single.

The Bearcats scored their final run in the bottom of the eighth. It was scored by Sutton Reece, who walked, moved to second when Ryan Wade walked, moved to third on an error, and came in to score on a fielder’s choice.

In the second game, the Bearcats rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull out an 8-7 victory and send the series to the third and deciding game. Hutchins’ second homer of the day, a two-run blast with a doubling shortstop Drew Day aboard, came in the bottom of the first inning of the second game and put the Bearcats on top 2-0.

In the deciding bottom of the eighth-inning, second-game rally, Voyles singled, went to second on a sacrifice by Bench and came in with the tying run on a clutch single by Reece.

Wade followed with a deep double to right center, driving in Reece with the winning run.