Toros’ rally falls short in loss to Greenville

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2003

The rocket hadn’t yet cleared the infield, but Greenville hitter Steve Hawkins knew it was gone.

He turned in the batter’s box, admiring his shot, and let loose a long, primal yell in celebration.

Finally, he began his slow trot around the bases.

His two-run shot broke open a tight game in the top of the sixth and gave the All-Stars a 3-1 lead.

To his credit Selma pitcher Ryan Kelly, who had pitched six strong innings up to that point, didn’t bean the next batter in retaliation. Instead Kelly showed the same resilience his team did.

He battled out of the inning and the Selma Toros battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Greenville sneaked home another run in the eighth and held off a bases-loaded rally in the ninth to take the 5-4 win.

“They’re one of the best teams in the league and we can beat them and they know we can because we’ve got the pitching,” Selma coach Percy Anderson said.

The All-Stars had the pitching as well. Veteran Greenville hurler Donald Hall changed angles and speeds like a wily ace and kept the Toros off-balance all afternoon.

“He’s old and he knows how to pitch,” Anderson said. “Our guys have got to learn.”

Hall scattered nine hits over nine innings.

He struck out six hitters.

Steve Preston led the way at the plate for the Toros. He singled, doubled and scored a run.

John Tac singled twice and scored.

Pete Stephenson singled, Fred Bryant singled, reached on an error and scored and Christopher McGraw added a single.

Kevin Smitherman singled for the Toros and Terrance Thomas added an RBI.

Designated hitter Deon Rudolph added a single as well.

Hawkins led the All-Stars with a homer, a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Both teams got an unearned run in the third inning. Tac singled for the Toros and came home on a throwing error.

After Hawkins put the All-Stars up two, Bryant reached on an error.

Hustled his way to second to beat the double-play relay and later scored on Thomas’ fielder’s choice.

Greenville tacked on a run in the seventh, but Selma quickly tied it up. Preston singled as did Tac.

A wild pitch allowed Preston home and moved Tac up.

An error allowed Tac to come home and tie the game at four.

Hawkins led off the eighth with a double. He took second on a wild pitch and later scored.

Selma tried to rally in the ninth. After a groundout, Rudolph singled. With two outs, Bryant singled to keep the inning alive.

McGraw got a blooper to drop just behind the first baseman on the right field grass to load the bases.

Hall got a pop-out to end the game.

“But we’re going to be all right, because we competed,” Anderson said.