By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
SMITHVILLE – Trailing 5-0 in Game 3 of its opening MHSAA Class 1A playoff series, Smithville needed a wake-up call.
Steve Adams’ bat was the alarm. His two-run homer – his third of the series, in the third inning – only cut Myrtle’s lead to 5-2 but it was all downhill from there for Smithville in a 13-5 win.
The Seminoles, 12-6 winners in Game 2 earlier Saturday, will face Greenville St. Joe on the road Friday.
Smithville, which trailed the series 1-0 after Friday’s 11-10 road loss, tied the game in the fourth, then exploded for eight runs in the sixth, the tiebreaker on Antwune Freeman’s bases-loaded fielder’s choice. Austin Spann added a bloop RBI single and after two runs off errors, Kyle Jackson drove in a pair, as did Adams and Zack Stephenson for a 13-5 lead.
“We’ve rode Steve’s back for the last two or three weeks,” said Smithville coach Jordan Summerford. “Steve jacking that homer turned us around and Kyle came in and did a great job.”
Jackson (3-0) pitched 42/3 innings with only 41 pitches, allowing only one earned run.
The No. 3-seed Hawks, who beat Smithville in the 2010 North finals, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Austin Floyd homered. They added to the lead in the second on Taylor Hogue’s RBI single, then added three in the third.
“Last night we were flat from the start. We came in today with some intensity.” Summerford said.
With the bases loaded in the fourth, Myrtle starter David Moody walked Adams, then hit Stephenson to pull Smithville within 5-4. Moody was pulled for Justin Pickens (3-3).
Antwune Freeman lined Pickens’ first pitch through short to score Jackson and tie it. Pickens snagged Spann’s liner to leave the bases full.
“They’re a fabulous hitting team,” said Myrtle coach Robert Gordon, whose lineup included only two seniors, as well as a seventh and eighth grader. “Just about anything you throw up there they make great contact.”
In the Game 2 win, Smithville scored five fourth-inning runs to take a 10-5 lead.
With the bases loaded in the fourth, Adams reached on an error to put the Seminoles ahead 6-5. Stephenson walked in a run, Antwune Freeman had a two-run single and winning pitcher Spann (4-0) added an RBI single that chased Myrtle starter Russ Yates (0-1).
Adams had a two-run double in Smithville’s three-run first. Myrtle pulled within a run in the second after a fielder’s choice from Moody and Hogue’s RBI infield single. Smithville added two runs in the second.
n Game summaries, Page 2B