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West Lauderdale forces third game
by Kent Mohundro
May 18, 2017 | 672 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PEARL — After taking a 5-3 decision from No. 3 West Lauderdale Wednesday in game one of the best-of-three 4A state championship baseball series at Trustmark Park No. 7 Corinth found itself needing four runs to extend the contest heading into the top of the seventh in game two Thursday afternoon.

But following a Kerrigan Maness single to open the final inning the Warriors were unable to take advantage and fell 11-7 to the Knights forcing a decisive game 3 on Saturday at 1pm.

Corinth won the post-game coin-toss and will be the home team for the rubber match.

"We had that one good inning but in a series against a team like them (West Lauderdale) you've gotta have more than that," said head coach Rob Scarbrough. "We missed several routine plays today that we usually make so we have got to do a better job defensively to win on Saturday."

Corinth starter Jackson Lancaster — who entered the game with a sub-1 ERA and was among the state leaders in strikeouts — was touched early after the Tribe had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

And Lancaster himself was responsible for that run. Kerrigan Maness walked and was able to reach third base on a botched pickoff attempt by Knights' starting pitcher Tyler Lantz. Lancaster then grounded out to first allowing Maness to score from third on a fielders choice.

West Lauderdale responded loudly in the bottom half of the frame pushing two runs across the plate on three hits to take a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and nobody out Lantz singled to centerfield driving home John Ross Briggs to knot the game at a run apiece. Knights leftfielder Jordan Herrington followed by reaching on a fielders choice with centerfielder Cole Hurst crossing the plate to make it 2-1 West Lauderdale after an inning.

Corinth leftfielder Alex Trice singled to begin the second but Baylor Frazier popped out to Lantz on a bunt attempt, Spencer Davis struck out and Spencer Lee grounded out to Briggs at second. West Lauderdale added another run in the bottom of the second when Briggs scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center by Knights third baseman Jake Mason making it 3-1 West Lauderdale.

"This is kind of like a heavyweight boxing match with two good teams and when the other team puts a few runs on the board your team has to respond and we just didn't do that well enough today," Scarbrough stated.

With the score still 3-1 in the bottom half of the fourth the Knights scored three more runs that seemed to convince the Knights crowd the game was in hand.

But Corinth said 'not so fast' and responded with the huge fifth inning Scarbrough referred to earlier.

Avery Davis began the rally with a simple single to the gap in right-centerfield. Spencer Lee followed with a single to center before Trevon Knight bunted his way on and everyone was safe. With the bases juiced and no outs West Lauderdale head coach Jerry Boatman visited the mound to calm Lantz down but as it turned out the Warriors had plans to knock Lantz out of the game.

And they did.

Kyle Crigger stepped to the plate and lined a hard single down the third base line that rolled all the way to the wall clearing the bases and drawing Corinth to within 6-4 just like that. Maness then singled to left scoring Crigger and the Warriors had cut the Knights lead to 6-5.

At that point Boatner decided enough was enough and pulled Lantz in favor of Kameron Partridge. Lancaster greeted the new hurler with a single to right moving Maness over to second. Hayden Scarbrough reached on a fielders choice but Lancaster was out at second while Maness moved to third. Will Agnew- who came in to pinch run for Lancaster- stole second putting runners on second and third with one out. Trice then went down on strikes before Frazier singled to shallow center just beyond the dirt to score Maness and Agnew and the Warriors found themselves ahead 7-6.

The large Corinth crowd was electric and the adopted shark mascot was dancing in the student section.

But there were still two innings to play and things went south from there for the Tribe.

Just as fast as Corinth had rallied from a 6-1 deficit to take a 7-6 lead the Knights bounced back to score four times in the bottom of the fifth and added an insurance run in the sixth to claim the decision.

"West Lauderdale has been here before and we knew they weren't going away without a fight," Scarbrough continued. "We'll have to throw more strikes and make the routine plays to win on Saturday. We just have to play better than we did today."

"It's gonna be a dogfight."

Corinth falls to 29-9 with the loss while West Lauderdale improves to 32-3.

The Warriors will need their fan base out in full force at 1 pm Saturday at Trustmark Park in Pearl for the rubber game that will decide the 4A state championship.

Hope to see you here.
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