By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
INGOMAR – Andy Wilbanks wanted to see his Ingomar Falcons send Greenville St. Joseph packing. Instead, his Falcons must pack their bags for a return trip to the Delta.
Greenville St. Joseph got home runs from Jaylin Jackson and Tyler Kirksey to defeat Ingomar 5-3 Monday in the second game of their first-round, best-of-three Class 1A state baseball playoffs series.
Ingomar won the opener, 10-7, last Thursday in Greenville, where the weather-delayed series wraps up today with a scheduled 5 p.m. start.
“We didn’t show up,” a frustrated Wilbanks said. “We got out-played, out-pitched and out-hit. There was a huge lack of focus on our part. We didn’t have that killer instinct.”
Today’s winner between the Falcons (18-8) and Fighting Irish (14-3) will advance to play Smithville or Wheeler in a state quarterfinals series scheduled to begin Friday.
Ingomar had the first opportunity to score when it loaded the bases in the second, but missed its chance when Tyler Dowdy flied out to center field.
Jackson gave the Irish a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the third off Ingomar right-hander Austin Sanders, who scattered six hits, struck out nine and walked five.
The Irish made it 3-0 in the fourth on a single by Jonathan Carrothers and a bases-loaded walk issued by Sanders to Hunter McGaugh, St. Joe’s No. 9 batter.
Tyler Kirksey tripled to open St. Joe’s fifth, then scored on an errant pickoff attempt to give the Irish a 4-0 advantage.
Ingomar cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run home run by Tanner McCollum.
The Falcons’ third baseman ripped his bomb, which carried over the right-centerfield fence, on the first pitch from Irish starter Grant Reifers.
“It was an outside fastball,” McCollum said. “I was just trying to move the runner. I went with the pitch and it came out a home run.”
Reifers went the distance, striking out six and scattering five hits. He no-hit the Falcons until a lead-off bunt single by Dowdy in the fifth.
Kirksey gave the Irish a 5-2 lead with his solo homer in the seventh.
Ingomar scored one run in the bottom of the seventh on a double by Dowdy and a sacrifice fly by McCollum.
“They had a bad day; we had a bad day,” McCollum said. “Game 3 will come down to who’s the better team.”