By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HATLEY – Winning close games at home has been the story of the season for the Hatley Tigers.
Hatley (20-8) pulled off another one in extra innings, taking advantage of a throwing error in the eighth inning for a 4-3 walkoff win over Strayhorn in the first round of the Class 2A baseball playoffs. The Tigers will face East Union in the second round, a team with which they split the season series.
“I don’t know what it is about playing at home, but we want to wait until the last minute to get it done,” Hatley coach John Harris said. “I told my guys that we didn’t play well at all, but we got it done. At the end of the day, you have to be happy about that this time of the year.”
Hunter Schrock’s solo shot to center field put the Tigers on the board, but the Mustangs knotted it up with a home run of their own from Tyler Stovall. His two-run double in the fourth gave Strayhorn a 3-1 lead.
Hatley tied things back up quickly in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Bowling and Josh Carlisle each drew walks, and Clay Pearson knocked them both in with a two-run single.
In the eighth, Bowling was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, but he was doubled off on a failed bunt attempt from Garrett Gray. Carlisle started the rally again, reaching on an error to short and getting to third on a stolen base and a passed ball. He scored when a throw to get Pearson at first sailed past the first base bag.
Carlisle struck out ten and allowed seven hits in his start, but Russ Johnson (4-2) picked up the win in relief, striking out five of the six batters he faced.
“I expected us to pull it out a little earlier. We didn’t have it today, but we got it done and that’s all that matters,” Johnson said. “We just have to learn come together as a team better. That’s the main thing.”