By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
SMITHVILLE – Host Smithville had its opportunity to come away with the win against defending 1A North baseball champion Greenville St. Joe on Thursday night.
The Seminoles left the winning run on second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, and St. Joe’s Jacob Reifers made them pay with a grand slam in the eighth for his Irish to take a 14-8 win and a 1-0 series lead in the 1A North semifinals.
“A base hit and we would have won the game,” Smithville coach Steve Kerr said. “They’re a great team though. They came out hitting the ball. We know our backs are against the wall going to the Delta on Saturday but we’ll go down there and battle.”
fit to be tied
The two teams tied things up three different times, including in the seventh when the Seminoles were down 8-7.
Drew Lann led off the inning for Smithville (20-10) by drawing a walk and came home when Austin Craig got to second on a two-base error from St. Joe (17-4). Irish pitcher Raines Rester worked out of the inning with a ground ball from Cole Williams.
In the eighth, St. Joe took the lead back on an RBI groundout and a bases loaded walk before Reifers launched his grand slam over the right field wall.
“We take the mentality of fighting until the end, and that’s the second game in a row we’ve fought back in,” St. Joe coach Chris Williams said. “We knew they were a great ball team and fundamentally sound and that they’d give us a battle. We just performed and that’s what it took.”
Smithville took its first lead of the game in the sixth after walks to Brady Thompson and Craig and a sacrifice fly by Williams.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Hood went 2 for 4 with a two-run single in the fourth.
Game 2 will be at Greenville St. Joe on Saturday at 6 p.m.