His scheme worked quite well, until Andrew Soper decided to eat one.
TCPS’s freshman catcher ripped a three-run, game-tying double to the gap in right-center field, then scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Eagles to a 6-5 comeback victory at Andy Reese Field.
“It was a curve, he left it hanging,” Soper said, then smiled. “I hit it right up the middle.”
Soper’s heads-up base running – he took third base on a Chandler wild pitch – was the difference for the Eagles, who entered the seventh trailing 5-1.
On a ball four pitch to Will Cockrell, the ball hit the plate, bounced over the catcher’s head. An alert Soper raced to the plate.
“I took off and ran for my life,” he said.
TCPS, which has already locked up one of Division 4-1A’s two state playoff berths in its first season of MHSAA competition, improved to 11-4 overall with the win. The Eagles are 9-1 in their division and tied with Smithville with two league games remaining.
“This win is a testament to their effort and hard work this season,” TCPS coach Grant Smallwood said. “It’s been fantastic.”
Leaving and returning
Soper’s double was only the third hit given up by Chandler, who was relieved after six innings, but returned to the mound when his replacement gave up a single and walked three batters.
Chandler “threw multiple curveballs,” Smallwood said. “We struggled early with his off-speed stuff.”
TCPS started its right-handed ace, Mississippi College commitment Zac Tucker. He worked three innings, scattered six hits, fanned three and walked two.
Smallwood lifted him after a four-run third inning and gave the ball to left-hander Zach Bridges, who gave up four hits, including a solo home run to Tyler Wells.
The Eagles turned to eighth grade right-hander Will Dempsey (1-0) to escape the top of the seventh. He got the final out and was later rewarded with his first career win.