By Mike Talbert
SALTILLO The Saltillo Tigers used a pair of bases-loaded situations in the sixth inning to keep Shannon’s Red Raiders from replaying their first-game win in a Division 1-3A Tournament doubleheader Tuesday.
Saltillo escaped a bases-loaded jam with an outstanding defensive play by first baseman Chi Wesson. Then, it turned Shannon miscues into four insurance runs for an 8-2 win.
“When we got out of that jam, it seemed to take a lot out of them,” Saltillo coach Johnny Bolen said. “He made a great play.”
Wesson had to dive in the grass to keep a Russ Howell grounder from getting into the outfield. Then he beat Howell to the bag for the out.
Shannon, the last seed in the division tournament, had come from behind with a two-run Casey Bruce double in the seventh to advance from the play-in game with a 5-4 win.
Saltillo (15-8), the top seed with a 7-1 division record, will host New Albany (20-11) at 7 p.m. Thursday in a semifinal game. The winner qualifies for the state playoffs and advances to the championship game Saturday. Saltillo won the teams’ first meeting 7-2 at New Albany.
Bolen took a chance Tuesday and started his No. 2 pitcher, left-hander Jason Dickey (6-2), who held the Red Raiders to a pair of unearned runs until he was relieved after his only walk loaded the bases in the sixth. No. 1 starter Bill Diggs then earned his third save.
“It was one of Jason’s better jobs this season,” Bolen said. “He had pitched against Shannon before and held them down, so we went with him.”
Dickey struck out eight batters and gave up six hits.
“It was a lot of pressure and I had some pretty big butterflies before I was able to calm down,” Dickey said. “What was big for us tonight was our hitting came around.”
The Tigers had 11 hits, including two doubles by Diggs and a solo homer by Eric Reynolds. But the biggest play may have been a wild pitch that was followed by a pair of errors to feed the Tiger’s four-run flood in the sixth.
“We just didn’t make the plays,” Shannon coach Stephen Peugh said. “We wanted to win but it didn’t work out.”
Shannon 5, Corinth 4: Shannon did make all the right plays after falling behind Corinth 3-0 in the first inning of the first game, as starter Ken Trice (4-4) limited Corinth to one run the rest of the way.
“He has pitched well like that all year, but we haven’t given him the support,” Peugh said.
Maurice Ivy hit a two run homer in the six and Bruce wrapped up a three-run seventh with his double for all the needed support.
Shannon 5, Corinth 4
Shannon 000 002 3 5 5 3
Corinth 300 001 0 4 6 5
WP – Ken Trice (4-4). LP – Jeremy Hudson (3-5). Multiple Hits – (S) Maurice Ivy 2; (C) Jake Northcutt 2. 2B – (S) Casey Bruce; (C) Northcutt. HR – (S) M. Ivy. Record: Corinth11-16.
Saltillo 8, Shannon 2
Shannon 000 200 0 2 7 3
Saltillo 211 004 X 8 11 2
WP – Jason Dickey (6-2). S – Bill Diggs 3. LP – Corey Morris (1-3). Multiple Hits – (Sh) Casey Bruce 2; (Sa) Bill Diggs 2, Cole Wilkinson 2, David Fleming 2; 2B – (Sh) Bruce; (Sa) Diggs, Jeff Dillard, Wilkinson, HR – (Sa) Eric Reynolds. Records: Saltillo 15-8, Shannon 10-14.