Coacht.com ranks Silverdale Academy No. 1.
MaxPreps.com has Boyd-Buchanan atop its latest Class A poll.
On Tuesday, the Seahawks beat the Bucs, 10-1, in the first game of a home-and-home series to help determine the District 5-A regular season championship.
Two days later the Bucs knocked off the Seahawks, 8-7, by scoring four runs in the seventh inning and somewhat clouding the district title picture, so both teams could retain their lofty poll perches for a while.
John Hale’s two out, two-run bloop single to center tied the game at 7-7 and Thatcher Smith, who went 3-for-5, followed by slapping a game-winning RBI single – he hit a 3-2 pitch off Seahawks reliever Joey Szollosi, his summer-ball teammate – to cap the improbable comeback.
After a couple of non-district games on Friday and Saturday, the Seahawks (17-2, 5-1) can still lock up the title and No. 1 seed for the tournament by sweeping a two-game series with Grace Academy next Monday and Tuesday.
“We’re done with league play,” Bucs coach Josh Rider said. “I think they’re going to be No. 1 in the district and we’ll be No. 2 because of run differential.”
SBA won by nine runs.
The Bucs won by one.
So, two more wins will sew up the title for the Seahawks, who saw their 15-game winning streak snapped by the hard-to-swallow setback on Thursday. SBA’s win on Tuesday ended the Bucs’ 13-game winning streak.
“It’s not over yet,” Seahawks coach Jonathan Adcock said. “We still have to beat Grace.”
Silverdale will be a heavy favorite to do just that.
On April 13, the Seahawks walloped the Golden Eagles, 20-1, in East Hamilton’s Hurricane Classic. Grace, according to the coachT.com website, is 4-14 and has lost eight straight games going into Friday’s district game against Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.
“We will take care of business in those two games,” Silverdale’s Spencer Mossburg said.
Before the Seahawks get to Grace, they will play Whitwell on Friday and Notre Dame on Saturday.
“Those two games will be a good way to forget about this one,” said Mossburg, who checked the Bucs on four runs and six hits over six innings and led off the game with a double and scored three runs. “Nothing is out of our hands yet, but we’re going from the frying pan into the fire.”
It took Boyd-Buchanan six innings – the Bucs trailed 7-1 after five – to put any pressure on the Seahawks. The Bucs trailed 7-1 going into the sixth.
Austin Bailey and Colton Parker each singled to trigger the inning. Skyler Anderson, who started for the Bucs, struck out and Reid Smith’s single to center scored Bailey.
Parker scored when Thatcher Smith reached on a two-out error by Szollosi at shortstop and Reid Smith moved to third on the miscue. He scored on a wild pitch to pull the Bucs to within 7-4.
That set up the Bucs’ miracle rally in the bottom of the seventh a few minutes later.
“I’m thinking we still have a shot,” Rider said as the inning started. “We got a few (runs) in the sixth and that was crucial because we hit the ball some. We had some life and they had to use some new people (pitchers).”
Seahawks reliever Colton Rogers hit Nathan Murrell, who had a single in the fifth to push Boyd-Buchanan’s first run across, to start the seventh.
Rogers struck out Rance Harden.
Rogers whiffed Bailey.
However, Rogers suddenly lost the strike zone and successively walked Parker, Anderson and Reid Smith. The walk to Smith cut the Bucs’ deficit to 7-5.
Szollosi came on in relief.
He got two quick strikes on Hale, who was batting ninth in the order.
Hale then looped a hit to shallow center and Parker and Anderson raced home to knot the score.
“It was a real big hit,” Hale said. “I’ve struggled in the last three games and finally came up big against one of my teammates in summer ball with a base hit for us. This comeback is huge. It’s a confidence booster going into the district tournament.”
Szollosi and Thatcher Smith locked up in a do-or-die battle.
Smith took three pitches out of the strike zone.
Szollosi countered with two strikes.
Szollosi unleashed a fastball low and away.
Smith went with the pitch, whacked it just inside the right-field foul line and raised his right arm in a personal game-winning celebration as he rounded first before being mobbed by teammates after the winning run crossed the plate.
“The two pitches before the one I hit were the exact same pitch,” said Smith, the only player in the game with two hits. “It wasn’t the pitch I like to hit, but I knew I couldn’t take it. This feels great. Even when they got up on us, we stayed alive in the dugout and there was encouragement coming from over there. It helps to have those guys behind you.”
Said Rider, “Neither one was a real solid hit, but they put them in good places. They both battled up there and it worked out for us.”
Silverdale had the state’s No. 1 defense against the score of 1.8 runs per game going into Thursday’s showdown, so the first-inning run produced by Mossburg’s leadoff double and Josh Bankston’s sacrifice fly, looked pretty good.
After all, two days earlier the Seahawks held the Bucs to one run.
Mossburg handcuffed the Bucs – he retired 10 in a row after giving up back-to-back, one-out walks in the first inning – in protection of the one-run lead and the Seahawks pushed their cushion to 6-0 with a five-run fifth.
Reid Clements doubled into the left-field corner, Matt Millard reached on a bunt single and Mossburg walked to load the bases.
Clements and Millard scored on Bailey’s fielding error at first and Szollosi and Josiah Green had back-to-back RBI singles and Szollosi came home on Jordan Delashmitt’s infield grounder on what should have produced the third out.
After fielding the ball, Harden’s flip to Antwine covering second was too late to get Green.
Mossburg walked in the sixth and quickly scored when Bankston doubled to right field.
But the Seahawks couldn’t finish the Bucs.
“We were one out from winning,” Adcock said. “But I give them credit. They battle hard. They fight until the very last out, and we’ve got to reach the point of battling to the last out, too. We’ve got to become mentally tough, and that’s a learning process.
“Our winning streak was nice, but it really didn’t mean anything. We just tried to win every ballgame. That’s what we’re still going to do. We’ll see Boyd-Buchanan at least two more times, probably. All you can do is congratulate them, learn from this game and be ready to play the next one.”
So, the questions remain.
Who is No. 1?
And, who is top dog in District 5-A?
Silverdale Academy 100 501 0 – 7 8 1
Boyd-Buchanan 000 013 4 – 8 8 4
Mossburg, Rogers (7), Szollosi (7) and Bankston; Anderson, Willingham (5), Cardwell (7) and R. Smith.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)