FULTON – In a pitchers’ duel between two starters recently back from injury, it was Itawamba AHS senior Luke Hargett escaping with the 3-2 win against senior Seth George and Tishomingo County on Tuesday night.
With the bases loaded and his team clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, Hargett got Derek Wright to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The win avenged a 12-2 loss to the Braves earlier this season and keeps the Indians (11-7, 8-1 Division 1-4A) tied for first in Division 1-4A with Pontotoc.
The loss dropped Tishomingo County to 11-7 overall and 4-3 in Division 1-4A.
“They got one more hit than we did, or one more play or whatever you call it,” said Tishomingo head coach Jerry Long. “It seems like the last few games we’ve been snake-bit. For some reason we can’t get the big run or the big hit.”
The Braves were no hit by Saltillo’s Cole Morse on Saturday, and Morse was on hand to watch the Braves almost pull out a division win on the road. Saltillo’s game against New Albany on Tuesday was postponed due to rain.
Pinch-hitter Jacob McDuffy led off the top of the seventh with a double to left center. Cameron Bonds followed with a single to right that scored pinch-runner Daniel Aday from second.
Cody Duncan then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Bonds over to second. George was intentionally walked and Griffin reached safely on an infield hit to load the bases before the game-ending twin-killing.
Tuesday’s lack of clutch hitting could very well be because of Hargett (2-1), who has beaten Shannon and now Tishomingo County since returning last week a from a dislocated kneecap. Hargett pitched all seven innings, striking out six, walking three, hitting a batter and allowing seven hits.
‘Great job’ all around
“Their guy George did a great job tonight, and of course Luke did a great job for us,” said Itawamba head coach Brian Long, no relation to Jerry Long. “Both teams struggled at the plate, but I think that was because both pitchers did a great job.”
Ironically, Hargett has broken his kneecap twice this season after swinging a bat.
“We don’t let him hit anymore,” joked the Itawamba skipper.
George (1-1), who hadn’t pitched in three weeks prior to Tuesday due to a sore shoulder, threw 52/3 innings, striking out nine, walking five and giving up four hits and three runs in suffering his first loss of the season.
“He deserved better than what he got,” said Jerry Long.
The Indians scored their first run in the bottom of the the first without getting a hit, as leadoff hitter Colin Chatham walked, stole second and went to third when Braves catcher Blake Long’s throw sailed into center field. Chatham would score on Dillon Mitchell’s sacrifice fly to center.
George hit a two-out triple in the top of the third and later scored that inning on a throwing error by Indians third baseman Maihkail Miller off a ground ball hit by Lee Griffin.
The score remained tied at one until the bottom of the sixth when Mitchell led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and would score on another wild pitch. George recorded two outs that inning before being taken out with runners on first and second.
Tyler Pritchard relieved George and hit the first two batters he faced, The second hit batsman scored pinch-runner Kyle Bean with what proved to be the winning run.
John Pitts/Daily Journal