By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal
INGOMAR – Fortune seems to be in favor of the Smithville Seminoles baseball team in the Class 1A playoffs.
Just a run away from elimination on Friday – a year after the town was devastated by a tornado – the Seminoles used a five-run sixth inning to clinch a 12-4 victory on Saturday over Ingomar to clinch the second-round series 2-1.
Smithville will face Greenville St. Joe in the next round. beginning on Friday.
“This is sort of surreal,” Smithville coach Steve Kerr said. “The kids put their guts out there every game, and don’t quit. It just shows how much character they have.”
The Smithville offense had plenty of what it takes, pounding out 16 hits against the thin Ingomar staff. The Seminoles (14-15) also scored runs in five of the seven innings.
“I really think we lost the series last night with all the runners we left on base,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “We didn’t get it done when we needed to get it done, that’s the summation of the series.”
Smithville began getting it done offensively in the second inning, where back-to-back singles by Derrick Hathcock and Jacob Hughey plated the first run of the contest. Then in the third frame, the Seminoles plated three runs on no hits and three errors to begin grasping the series edge.
“The game totally switched with the errors in the third inning,” Wilbanks said. “Momentum, we never got it today.”
After Ingomar (20-8) had pulled within 5-3, Smithville got the game in hand in the sixth inning.
Hughey, who had four hits including three doubles, led off the frame with a two-bagger. That began a stretch of six straight hits for the Seminoles before an out was recorded.
J. T. Pitts, Tyler Hood, Landon Carter, and Turner Sanderson all had RBI hits in the inning as Smithville stretched its advantage to 10-3.
“We had a very good approach at the plate that inning,” Kerr said. “We stayed back, and put the ball in play, and the ball dropped for us.”
Smithville Game 2 starter Brady Thompson came back to start Game 3, hurling three innings to earn the win, with effective relief from Game 2 winner Micah McCain, who pitched three and a third in this contest.
After his no-hitter Thursday, Ingomar pitcher Tyler Dowdy threw into the fifth inning in Game 3 and took the loss.