By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Monday night district games are a perfect time for high school baseball fans to make a trip out to the ballpark.
Normally a head coach will employ his best pitcher to take the mound. On April 3 the District 13-3A matchup between the Dyer County Choctaws and Brighton Cardinals set up the pitchers’ duel between Jordan Fowler and Matthew Jacome.
Jacome kept his Cardinals in the game matching Fowler pitch for pitch in the eight-inning thriller. But Fowler pitched into the eighth inning to help Dyer County hold on 2-1.
“We had a couple of malfunctions out there on defense that kind of put us in a bind,” Brighton Head Coach Michael Wickersham said. “Other than that, we fought our hearts out tonight. That’s an SEC pitcher right there. Scouts were out here for him.
“He hasn’t done anything but strike a bunch of guys out,” he continued. “We came out here tonight and we hit the ball. That was the first time he’s been hit. We just had a couple of mistakes out here that hurt us.”
Cardinals received hits throughout the game from players like Eli Davis, Dalton Rushings, Matt “Ice” Smith, Brett Wilkins and Jacome. But those hits were scattered from the first inning to the last frame.
As Jacome and the Brighton defense neutralized the Choctaw lineup for four innings, the Cardinals managed to jump ahead 1-0 in the third inning.
Brighton’s TJ Klutts reached base with two outs. Then Cole Wilkins put the ball into play down the third base line. The Choctaws had a throwing error leading to Klutts scoring.
In the top of the fifth Dyer County tied the contest at 1-1 courtesy of a Zach Epperson single.
Then the pitchers’ duel resumed with Jacome and Fowler keeping the rest of regulation scoreless. Dyer County broke the deadlock in the eighth inning when Cayden Stafford drove in Cam Barlow with a base hit.
It was up to Fowler to hold on to the 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the eighth. Jacome led off the frame with a single. Then Fowler settled down and recorded the final three outs of the night to earn the district victory.
Coach Wick said his Cardinals left the field slightly dejected by optimist for the rest of the District 13-3A schedule.
“They were fine,” he concluded. “We got down there and we were upset about losing obviously. They have a lot of heart but they understand the situation. They know that’s the best they’ve got. And we hit him. We just came up on the short end of the stick in an eight-inning ball game. We’re going to be fine.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.