Cougars silence Wildcats
March 17, 2001
By Richard Dark
The Meridian Star
The Meridian High Wildcats came into Friday night's game with a penchant for beating good teams this season.
The Northwest Rankin Cougars put a stop to that with a 4-1 victory that allowed them to gain control in Division 5-5A.
The Cats fell to 8-6 on the season, while Northwest Rankin improved to 9-2.
Center-fielder John Iverson reached on a Cougar infield error and in the process, catcher John Stevens came home to tie the game at one run apiece in the bottom of the first.
Compton found himself in a big bases-loaded jam in the next Cougar frame, but managed to get Northwest catcher Adam Love to strike out swinging to end the threat.
On the night, Hays Compton rang up 10 batters. But if he was effective, Cougar pitcher Joel Mangrum was brilliant, striking out eight, but scattering only four hits while walking only one.
The Cougars went ahead in the fourth inning when Mangrum, who reached on a single, stole third and then made it home safely on an errant infield throw.
Compton then bore down and struck out the next two Cougar batters, but the damage was done.
Passed balls hurt the Cats, who stranded five batters on the night.
It was more of the same in the NWR fifth, as Sanders struck out, but made it to first on the passed ball.
Another passed ball and a stolen base later, Sanders was on third. Josh Johns hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Sanders made the score 3-1 during that play.
Down by two, MHS needed a big inning. Instead the Wildcats were set down in order by Mangrum, who struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth.
It looked as if MHS would hold the Cougars down in the next inning, as Compton fanned the first two batters. But Mangrum reached on an infield throwing error and Scott Ewing walked, setting up the Cougar RBI-single from Sam Howard that provided the final margin.
Sanduan Dubose had a big standup double in the sixth, followed by an Iverson walk, but it wasn't to be for the Cats, who wound up stranding both of those runners.
In the bottom of the seventh, Torry Bates singled to left field, but Mangrum struck out two batters and picked off the courtesy runner to settle the issue.
MHS plays a twinbill today at John Moss Field against Starkville and Melrose, Tenn.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.