Bearcats pull through thriller to outlast Syrupmakers at Cairo
Published 7:32 pm Friday, March 7, 2014
Grant McDonald led off the eighth inning with a solo homer and Tate Lambert struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning to help lift Bainbridge past rival Cairo Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Field in Cairo.
In the third inning, Cairo took an early 2-0 lead. The Syrupmakers opened the scoring by drawing a bases loaded walk followed by a single to right field.
Bearcat starting pitcher Jordan Davis then settled back in and retired the side without any further damage.
Davis earned a no decision on the night. He lasted 4 2/3 innings, surrendered eight hits and struck out four while walking two.
“Jordan didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he did a great job of getting out there and competing,” head coach Brian McCorkle said. “He gutted it out and kept us in the game.”
Cairo pitchers kept Bearcat hitters off balance all night.
It wasn’t until the top of the seventh inning that Bainbridge could muster any real offense.
“There pitchers did a good job of keeping us off balance,” McCorkle said. “I don’t know that we had a really hard hit ball until the seventh (inning).”
Junior Blake Merchant got the Bearcat rally started when he led off with a hard single to left. After a past ball moved him to second, Jordan Davis doubled to left center driving in Merchant.
After two strikeouts, leadoff hitter Tate Lambert was intentionally walked. Dustin Strickland then delivered a single to left, scoring Davis and knotting the game at two.
In the bottom of the seventh, Lambert came on to relieve Tyler Braswell, who pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief. Lambert walked the leadoff man but then retired the next three batters.
In the top of the eighth, leadoff hitter Grant McDonald blasted the first pitch he saw over the left field wall putting the Bearcats up 3-2.
In the bottom of the 8th Lambert surrendered a walk and a single but then struck out the side to preserve the win.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” McCorkle said. “They hung in there and hung in there until we found a way to win. We talked to our kids about being at your best when your best is required, and that’s what we got tonight. Some guys were at their best when we needed them to be. It’s a great win for our program.”