Warriors edge Lions
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
April 7, 2001
Legendary West Lauderdale baseball coach Jerry Boatner suggested Friday night his third-ranked Knights might have a lucky rabbit's foot.
Meridian coach Vince McLemore won't argue.
For the second time this season, McLemore's Wildcats found themselves within one out of beating West Lauderdale. And for the second time this season, West snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Knights scored a run on a wild pitch in the seventh to send the game into extra innings, then got two unearned runs in the eighth and held on for a thrilling 4-3 win over Meridian at John Moss Field.
Meridian fell to 15-10 overall, while West used yet another one-run victory to improve to 22-1.
West had beaten Kemper County 20-0 in a Division 5-3A game earlier Friday.
Against Meridian, the Knights were the last team standing after the teams initially locked horns in a pitcher's duel then fought through a combined seven errors and a host of wild pitches.
Instead, the Wildcats made two costly errors, had four wild pitches and a passed ball in the decisive seventh and eighth innings.
West was up 1-0 on an unearned run in the first inning, and it stayed that way until Meridian tied with an unearned run of its own in the fourth.
In the fifth, the Wildcats got a one-out single from Andy Slayton and MHS produced the go-ahead run with two walks and a fielder's choice.
Meridian kept that 2-1 lead until the top of the seventh. Richie McAlister started the West rally with a one-out single, and Miles Joyner followed with a clutch two-strike base knock to put a pair of runners on.
Starter Jason Spinks went 2-0 on Josh Snider and was pulled, and John Hays Compton (2-5) came on and eventually fanned Snider. But a wild pitch produced the tying run, and Ryan Clay set down the Wildcats in order in the bottom of the seventh to send it to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Trent Posey's hot shot couldn't be handled with one out, and two errors and a pair of wild pitches later, West was sitting on a 4-2 lead.
The win didn't come easy for the Knights, however. Meridian loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the eighth, but scored just once after Clay got a strikeout, a 1-2 fielder's choice and a game-ending groundout.
Clay went 3 2/3 innings of relief and allowed only two hits to improve to 6-0 on the season. Starter Brad McKee went 4 1/3 innings and fanned four.
West will be in action again today with its annual fund-raiser, then tonight at 7 p.m., the Knights host Thomasville, Ala.
Meridian will take today off so the team can attend the funeral of former MHS standout Brian Cole. The flag at John Moss flew at half-mast for Friday's contest in memory of Cole, who was killed in an automobile accident last weekend.
The Wildcats' next action is Tuesday, when they host Wayne County in a Division 5-5A game.
West Lauderdale 20, Kemper County 0: Snider tossed a no-hitter and struck out 12 men to improve to 3-0 and help the Knights gain an easy division win over visiting Kemper Friday afternoon.
Posey and Snider also carried the big sticks for West. Posey was 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored, while Snider went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and four RBIs.
Todd Doolittle singled, doubled and had three RBIs, Van Wilson had a pair of hits, McAlister singled, doubled and drove home two and eighth-grader Randy Dively singled, doubled and knocked in four runs.
Kemper fell to 1-12 overall and 1-9 in division play.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.