By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The black and purple of the Ripley Tigers has led to headaches for the Millington Trojans in years past.
But when the Tigers arrived to Miles Park March 28, Zane Adams’ Trojans were ready for their new District 15-2A rival. Millington sent senior ace Noah Graham to the mound to match Ripley’s Bo Simpson pitch for pitch.
Graham held his own throughout the night going six innings and giving up only one unearned run. Meanwhile Simpson kept the Trojans off balanced, escaped a bases loaded situation and delivered Ripley a complete-game performance for a 1-0 win.
“Noah threw the ball well,” Adams noted. “He threw well enough to win. We’ve got to make the plays. We probably left six or seven guys on in scoring position. We were one hit away several times in innings of tying it up. And we never came up with that big hit.”
In the third inning, it was a Millington error on a fly ball allowing Ripley to grab the lead 1-0.
The Trojans had a threat in the fifth inning to possibly tie the game. Millington players Alex Phillips, Garrett Durley and Peyton Cochran all reached base on walks.
But a fielder’s choice in the infield and strikeout got Simpson out of the jam. Graham matched Simpson out for out until the seventh inning.
Cochran came into the game in relief and kept the Tigers scoreless. Millington had a chance to tie the game with just a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Trojans couldn’t manage any offense in that frame and Ripley had another win over the Trojans. But his time the Tigers had to survive.
“Going toward the end of that game, we were in it,” Adams said. “In the previous three games with Ripley we have not competed. Bo Simpson is a great pitcher. He’s the reason they won this game because he’s on the mound. When we’ve faced Bo in the past, we were not really in the game.
“That let’s my guys know we can compete with the top guys in our league,” he concluded. “Our guys knew they could have won this game and we should have won this game.”
The Trojans did win the rematch the following night 9-8 in nine innings. Trojan Jordan Tincher had a two-out RBI double in the ninth to give Millington the lead.
Graham went 2 for 4 with two runs batted in.
Aaron Peerey was also 2 of 4 and pitched the final two innings giving up no runs and earned the victory.
The defensive standout of the night was Sean Oglesby with a few big catches in right field.