Bases-loaded walk sends Independence past West
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
May 11, 2001
The West Lauderdale Knights have their backs pinned solidly to the wall in the Class 3A state championship baseball series after dropping Game 1 5-4 Thursday night at Independence.
Independence, 28-10, scored on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the series opener.
The game was delayed for nearly an hour due to rain in the bottom of the second inning.
West, 34-5, hopes to even the series Saturday when the Knights host the Wildcats at 6 p.m. in Collinsville. The Knights are hoping to claim their ninth state title in a 13-year span, but will have to win two straight to accomplish that feat.
A third game, if needed, would be Monday at 6 p.m. back at Independence.
Independence took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning only to have the Knights tally three times in the top of the fourth to go up 3-1.
Josh Snider hit a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Clay. Brad McKee reached on an error by the Wildcat shortstop and Trent Posey followed with a two-run single.
Independence drew even with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Mississippi State signee Brett Cleveland plated both runs with a two-run homer.
The Wildcats went up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth as Jeffrey Ferrell doubled and scored on a single by Bruce Crockett.
The Knights tied the game in the top of the seventh as Bo Davis doubled and scored on a double by Miles Joyner. Joyner was thrown out at third base trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Independence put together its winning rally in the bottom of the seventh. Cleveland drew a walk to start the frame and Paul Fowler reached on an error by the Knights' first baseman. Adam Sowell was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. Ferrell then drew a walk to force home the game-winning run.
Clay (8-4) went the distance in a losing effort. He allowed nine hits.
Cleveland (10-3) turned in a superb effort on the mound, striking out 11 and giving up just five hits.
At the plate, Cleveland went 2-for-3 with a single and a homer. Ferrell went 2-for-2 with a single and a double.
Both teams committed only one error.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.