By Rob Patrick
Right-hander Randy Bell pitched out of a two-out two-on jam in the bottom of the sixth then closed out the game with a scorless seventh as the Mississippi champion from McComb stayed alive in the 2009 Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Tournament for 14-year-olds on Saturday.
The 8-7 win came at the expense of the South Texas champions from Tri-County who rallied from 4-0 and 8-4 deficits but just couldn't gain the lead in the game. Tri-County had opened the tournament on Friday with a 10-0 loss to Fort Smith. McComb had played its first game earlier in the day, losing 10-0 to Nederland, Texas.[more]
With the win, McComb advanced to play on Sunday at 5 p.m., against the loser of the White Hall-Little Rock Junior Deputy game to be played earlier on Sunday.
Bell and Gage Posey each had two hits for McComb. Tanner Parvin contributed a clutch two-run single in the tell-tale four-run fifth for the Mississippi champs.
Tri-County was led offensively by Brett Rohde with two hits. Kory Smith and Reagan McAda each drove in a pair.
The game was tied 4-4 going into the fifth. Posey beat out an infield hit to start the inning. Dante Bradberry also beat out an infield single then Adrian Brown drew a walk to load the bases.
Smith came on in relief of McAda, Tri-County's starter on the mound, but was greeted by Parvin's shot to center which brought home Posey and Bradberry. An errant pickoff throw to first allowed Parvin to take second and Brown to score, making it 7-4. Smith got a strikeout but Blake Terrell drilled an RBI double down the line in left to get in what turned out to be decisive run.
Smith retired the next two then worked around a one-out single ot Posey in the sixth.
Posey, the second McComb pitcher had gotten the final out of the third, pitched around a one-out single by Riley Krueger in the fourth and, after his team had taken the lead in the top of the fifth, got out of the bottom of the inning after Smith had led off with a single, swiped second and taken third on a groundout.
In the sixth, Posey retired the first batter but an infield single by Kolby Kolek ignited a Tri-County rally. Collin Dungen walked then Posey retired Will Wallace on a fly to center. But a walk to Dustin Drab filled the bases and a walk to Smith forced in a run. Rohde followed with a two-run single which cut the lead to 8-7 with runners at first and second representing the tying and go-ahead runs.
But Bell came on to get the final out on a grounder to third.
After Luke Pflughaupt retired McComb in order in the top of the seventh, Bell hit McAda with a pitch with one out in the bottom of the inning. Kolek popped out then, with Dungen at the plate, McAda was thrown out by Terrell as he tried to steal second to get into scoring position, ending the game.
McComb had broken out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame. With one out, Justin Brent singled but was forced at second on a grounder to third by Marquis Lewis. A walk to Posey extended the inning for Brandon Canny who doubled in a run.
McAda appeared to be out of the inning when he got Brown to ground to third but a wild throw wound up allowing two runs to score as Brown raced to third. He then scored the fourth run when Brady Badon's grounder to short was booted.
While McAda settled in and shut out McComb through the fourth, Tri-County rallied to tie in the third after being held hitless through the first two innings by McComb starter Jacob Fleming. A single to left by Wallace started the uprising. He stole second and took third on Dustin Drab's groundout. Smith's sacrifice fly brought the run home to make it 4-1.
Fleming got within a strike of ending the inning there but Rohde cracked an 0-2 deliver for a single to get things going again. Carson Schindler slapped a single to right and Tanner Fritsch was awarded first base on catcher's interference on a 2-2 count. With the sacks full, McAda delivered a two-run single to center to make it 4-3. Fritsch wound up scoring the tying run on an errant pickoff throw by Posey who bounced back to get the final out, stranding McAda at third.