COLLINSVILLE – It’ll all come down to Tuesday night in Sumrall for the chance to play for a state championship.
Trailing the 4A South State series 1-0 to the Bobcats, West Lauderdale forced a decisive Game 3 with a 10-0, six-inning win Monday night at Jerry Boatner Field.
“I knew going in that this was going to be a tough one,” Sumrall coach Larry Knight said. “It’s just disappointing that we ended it the way we did. But, tomorrow is a new day.”
While Kameron Partridge held the Bobcats bats down, it took until the fifth inning for the Knights’ offense to wake up. But when they did, they put crooked numbers on the board and Sumrall couldn’t recover. West Lauderdale scored four in the fifth to grab control of the game, then six more in the sixth to force the run-rule to come into effect.
“It was a great ballgame up until that point,” Knight said of the final two innings. “After (the fifth) inning, I feel like the air was knocked out of us at that point.”
Partridge struck out seven in his six innings of work, and he only allowed four hits and walked one. Dannis Jackson, Zane Berry, Billy Garrity and Javan Williams recorded the only four hits in the contest, but the Bobcats couldn’t string them together to score runs.
“He’s just a good one,” Knight said. “He shut us out last year and he shut us out again. He mixes up his pitches well.”
Sophomore starting pitcher Kros Sivley began the game hot by retiring 10 straight West Lauderdale batters from the first to the fourth inning. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit until Partridge reached safely on a bunt to start the fifth inning.
That would begin a string of walks and doubles, with an error in between, which allowed the Knights to jump up 4-0. Sivley finished with five strikeouts and four walks in five innings of work, and he allowed four runs – two earned – off three hits.
“I thought he threw well,” Knight said. “His fastball was good. I thought his stuff was good. I mean, he had a no-hitter for most of the game.”
Sophomore Hayden Nored entered to pitch the sixth inning, then senior Stone Robinson relieved him after one out was recorded. The two entered Monday night with only nine combined varsity innings, but the West Lauderdale offense was rolling and Knight had to think of Game 3.
“It was a situation where we let some guys throw to not eat up some arms, but defensively we shut it down like we were ready to go to the house,” Knight said. “That’s what it kind of looked like to me, and I was disappointed that we didn’t compete after we gave up those four runs.”
Sumrall has three options to pitch Game 3, as seniors Halen Sanford and Billy Garrity haven’t thrown yet in the series. Junior John Cody Stogner is also available to pitch after throwing 38 pitches in Game 1 Sunday.
“We have those three guys available and we feel good about that,” Knight said. “Once again, we’ll talk to see who we’re going to go with, but we certainly feel good about having several arms to pick from.”
Game 1 starter Ben Ethridge and Partridge are the lone two West Lauderdale pitchers who can’t throw in Game 3.