Wallace splits with Southern Union

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Wallace Community College-Selma Patriots won one of two games against Southern Union at home Saturday, coming back to win in game one. Above, Patriots’ pitcher Gage Mooney delivers a pitch. -- Robert Hudson

The Wallace Community College-Selma Patriots were down, but they never gave up, as they came back to defeat Southern Union 6-5 at home Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Frank Elliott, head baseball coach of the Patriots (5-20), said his team was able to persevere and overcome an early deficit that included a controversial home run by Southern Union.

“Finally, things kind of fell our way,” Elliott said. “I felt like we had a terrible call there early in the game on a home run they called that I didn’t think was a home run. We put all of that behind us and we finally overcame everything, and that’s kind of where we are this time of year. We should be able to mature and overcome stuff, and we have.”

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The Patriots were trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning when Southern Union’s Blake Fuller hit a two-run homer to deep right field that elicited cries of ‘foul’ from the home crowd and Elliott, who argued that the ball went right of the foul pole.

The play stood, giving Southern Union a 5-1 lead, but what could have been a demoralizing play didn’t deter the Patriots.

The Patriots started to mount a comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning when E.J. Harris popped out to center field, but it was deep enough to allow Adam Strong to tag up from third base and make it a 5-2 game.

The Patriots made the comeback official when, still in the eighth inning and with bases loaded, Michael Schofield hit a line drive to left field past the outfielder, allowing Wallace runners Brent McFarland, Dion Duncan and Jace Watkins to score.

Schofield was tagged out at third attempting to get a triple, but the damage was already done, as the Patriots tied the game 5-5.

Wallace loaded the bases again in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Harris grounded to second base for what looked to be a routine play that would stop the Patriots from advancing their runners and get Southern Union out of a jam, but the throw to first was dropped by the first baseman, allowing Strong to score from third and seal the victory for Wallace.

Elliot said things just fell into place for a Patriots comeback, and strong relief pitching by righty Gage Mooney helped Wallace hang around long enough to strike.

“We finally linked together some hits and errors and that kind of stuff, too. I think that was key in tying up the game,” Elliott said. “Then Gage Mooney came in and threw strikes from down under and that kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”

In the second game of the doubleheader, Elliott said the Patriots made too many errors early, got away from their gameplan and could never get anything going, as they fell 6-1.

Wallace will take the field again Tuesday, March 27 when they’ll travel to Tuscaloosa to play Meridian at 5 p.m.