Cougars blow by Tiger Cubs at home

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

After being5-through five innings, the South Putnam High School baseball team rallied back to win its season opener, 9-6 in extra frames over Cloverdale Tuesday.

It looked like the Clovers were going to get their first win of the season when Michael Neese scored on an Eagle error, giving Cloverdale a 1-0 lead. Cloverdale added three more in the fifth, bumping its lead to 4-0. Neese singled one, bringing in Kyle McCammon and Cody Nees, then scored on passed ball.After five innings, the Clovers were looking at their first win being a possibility with a 4-0 lead, at least they thought.

All the Lcovers had to do was hold off the Eagles' offense for two more innings. Through five innings, Neese gave up only two hits, but walked he bases loaded in the top of the sixth. CHS brought in Chase Haltom for the close, but the Eagles rally had already started.

Josh Hopper, who was 0-for-3 for the day, started the Eagles rally after singling one off of Haltom to score Adam Nees and Cory McCallie. Matt Hicks continued the comeback when he collected his second hit of the game, grounding one up the middle, bringing in two more RBI and the Eagles were now down by one with tying run on first.

Hicks advanced to third when Greg Chestnut popped one up and over the second basemen. Nichols then singled, scoring Hicks for to give SPHS the lead.

With the score being 5-4 and with another run on third, the Clovers need to close out the inning, and Haltom did, striking out Jon Davidson.

The Clovers quickly tied the game in the bottom of sixth when Nees scored on a passed ball, but the Eagles added one to score in at the top of the seventh and had the win within their grasp until the confusion started.

The Clovers substituted Kyle Schroer for Josh Flory, on what would have been the last out of the game, and Schroer grounded one to the infield and Hicks made the tag at first and one on the runner, at least he believed he did. The Eagles marched the field to celebrate, but the game wasn't over. The umpire never made the call and Craig Blair who was on first advanced to third in the confusion and was in scoring position. Haltom brought in Blair with a single and the game was tied 6-6.

South Putnam put the finishing touches on the game at the top of the eighth after Hicks grounded one into center and Chestnut aired one out to centerfield for a double, putting the go ahead run on third. With Nichols at the plate, Haltom threw two wild pitches and Hicks and Chestnut scored. The Eagles last run came from Davidson when Nees brought him.

The Clovers got a man on base in the bottom of the eighth, but Eagles defense retried one batter and two more runners for the win.

This was Clvoerdale's third straight loss, but Coach Tim Savini isn't worried.

"This is just the beginning and that is what I told the team," he said. "Every story has a beginning, middle and an end and this is our beginning. We still have a middle and end left."

South Putnam's coach Matt Griswold attributed the win to the team's ability to hold their composer.

"Hicks and Marcus McKinney did a good job holding their composure on the mound and the defense kept the runs down until we got our offense going," Griswold said. "Our depth helped us too. We went through three catchers in this game and they all came through for us."

The Clovers collected nine hits with Haltom and Kyle McCammon leading the way with two each while Nees, Neese, Chad Cummings, Brandon Mescall and Kyle Schroer all had one each.

Nees started on the mound for the Clovers, fanning out five batters and gave up two hits. Haltom earned the loss for the Clovers, giving up seven hits and nine runs, six of which wear earned.

South Putnam totaled nine hits with Hicks leading off with three while Hopper, Nichols, Davidson and McCallie getting one each. Chestnut and Nees each had a double.

Hicks started out for Eagles and retired eight batters before being releived by McKinney. McKinney earned the win for the Eagles amd struck out three batters.

The Clovers are now 0-3 on the season and the Eagles are 1-0 with the second game of the series being played today at South Putnam, starting at 4:30 p.m.

At Cloverdale

S. Putnam 000 005 11 -- 9 9 4

Cloverdale 010 031 10 -- 6 9 1

P -- Nees (CL), Haltom (CL), Hicks (SP), McKinney (SP)

WP -- McKinney (SP) 1-0

LP -- Haltom (CL) 0-2

2B -- Chestnut (SP), Nees (SP), Mescal (CL)

Next Game -- The Eagles and Clovers close out their two-game series today at 4:30 p.m. at South Putnam.

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