Selma stays alive, forces game three

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The first pitch flew by, and Selma third baseman Jacob Paxton grimaced toward the heavens and groaned.

In a scoreless game in extra innings with one out, he let a hitter’s pitch go.

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He atoned by singling to load the bases, and teammate Shane Moreland picked him up.

Moreland’s single with the bags full gave Selma a 2-0 win Saturday in the Dixie Majors District IV Tournament at Bloch Park.

The scene was a microcosm of game two between Selma and Prattville. Both teams squandered golden opportunities, and the starting pitchers were fooling the batters.

Moreland crushed a pitch toward Prattville third baseman Jesse Murphree to drive in Taylor Hollis and Randall Hamilton. Murphree leapt and almost snagged the rocket, but came up short.

“I was nervous,” said Moreland. “If they were playing normal it would’ve been right to him, but we burned them.”

Two groundouts prevented Selma from extending the lead, and Prattville led off the bottom half of the inning with a momentum-grabbing single.

Jarrett Bailey hit a hard grounder that looked sure to get through, but second baseman Andrew Harrison made a sliding catch to start a double play.

“I tried to make sure I stayed down on it and made a good throw to the shortstop,” said Harrison. “I knew if we made that play, we had a good chance to get out without any damage.”

In the blink of an eye, a Selma team tinkering with disaster was one out from forcing a third game on Sunday. Relief pitcher Thomas Austin struck out Bryan Omeara to finish the game and force game three today.

Selma entered the game one loss from elimination after a 6-to-1 loss Friday.

“The problem we had yesterday was we walked too many in the first two innings,” said Selma coach Murray Austin. “If we just do what we’re capable of doing, we stand a chance.”

Game two did not start in promising fashion.

Selma didn’t have a base runner in the first inning, and Prattville loaded the bases with no outs. Selma pitcher Dylan Shelby worked out of his first jam of the game with a double play and strikeout.

Shelby got the first two batters out in the fourth inning, but gave up two hits and hit a batter to load the bases again. He responded by striking out Murphree.

Selma had a shot at the lead in the sixth inning, but couldn’t take advantage. With runners at first and third, Ricky Long lined out to the shortstop.

Paxton seemed sure Selma would take the deciding game of the series, which begins at 1 p.m.

“I think we’re going to win the next one,” said Paxton. “Guaranteed.”