By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – Mason Maxey came through with the hit New Albany had been looking for.
Maxey’s single in the bottom of the ninth scored Easton Hall for the deciding run and lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-3 win in Game 2 of their second-round MHSAA Class 4A baseball playoff series at BNA Bank Park on Friday.
New Albany had loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth but was unable to break through with the needed score.
“We were getting runners on the bases and just leaving them stranded,” said Maxey, a senior, who also came in as relief pitcher and recorded the win. “I had told my buddy (Hall) to hold on and I was going to get him.”
Maxey’s two-out fly to left put New Albany in front and evened the series at one game apiece. Game 3 is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Kosciusko.
“It’s real easy to lay down when you get in those situations and they make great plays to get them out of it,” said New Albany coach John Walker, whose squad improved to 24-8. “It’s easy for a team to lay down, because there goes an opportunity, but we didn’t.
“In the next inning (the 8th), we’re in that situation again, and they make a great play,” he continued. “We had to fight and get back in it.”
Kosciusko went ahead 3-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Ethan Porter.
The bottom half of New Albany’s batting order came through to tie it in the bottom of the frame.
Riley Alef led off with a walk, Brandon Montgomery singled to right and Maxey bunted his way on to load the bases with no outs.
The first run came when John Holt Waldrop was hit by a pitch. Tyler Verrell and Aaron Catt followed with sacrifice hits to bring in two more.
Maxey (9-2) pitched six innings on Game 1 on Thursday but took the loss. He relieved starter Colt Smith in the eighth and earned the win to even the series.
Reliever Brock McKnight took the loss for the Whippets (21-6), the top seed from Div. 4-4A.