Knights stay in title hunt
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
May 13, 2001
The defending Class 3A champion West Lauderdale Knights got 18 strikeouts from Todd Doolittle in Game Two of their best-of-three championship series Saturday night.
The Knights needed all of them.
Doolittle struck out the Independence Wildcats in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a 4-3 victory and send the Knights (35-5) to a third and deciding game Monday night at Independence (28-11).
Boatner may have been referring to any number of points in the tight contest. But the Wildcats snapped a scoreless tie, and plated a run in the third inning, following singles by Brian Sowell and Jordan Treadway that led to a successful double steal attempt.
West answered back in their half when Josh Snider walked and Doolittle helped himself with an RBI single to center to tie the game.
West took the lead in the fourth when shortstop Trent Posey left the yard with a solo homer.
But the Knights couldn't push anyone else across, despite getting two more hits in the frame.
Not to be outdone, Indy left fielder Brad Riley led off the fifth with a solo shot of his own to tie the game again. But Doolittle (13-0) shook off the homer and retired three of the next four to minimize the damage.
In the West fifth, things started to go badly for the visitors.
Snider reached on an error and took second on a passed ball before swiping third.
Then Doolittle drove in Snider with a double. Brad McKee reached on an infield error and stole second.
It was on that slide that McKee broke his finger and did not return.
After the injury timeout, Ryan Clay reached on a passed ball third strike and IHS catcher Jeffery Ferrell didn't react in time to tag pinch runner Brent Boutwell at the plate.
The Wildcats inched closer in the sixth when Riley reached on an error that wound up plating Adam Sowell.
Boutwell was gunned down at third to finish the Knights sixth and Doolittle concluded his stellar evening by fanning the top of the Wildcat order.
The Knights will go into the deciding game without the services of McKee, who had to have surgery on the finger late Saturday night.
If they are to repeat as champs, it will be largely up to the effort of Trent Posey, who will go for the Knights Monday.
Snider one of the three remaining seniors, said the team plans to band together and win the game and the title for the injured McKee.
Wildcat coach Patterson said he didn't think his team deserved to win.
Anytime you strike out 18 times, you don't deserve to win a ballgame," he said. "We didn't get any timely hitting whatsoever."
But an enraged Patterson, who bent his team's ear for at least 15 minutes afterward, finally cracked a smile when asked of the prospect of one game winner-take-all for the crown.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. You can call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235 or e-mail him at email@example.com.