By Thomas Sellers Jr.
And in baseball an individual call can swing momentum as fast as a baseball escaping the glove of a diving outfielder. The showdown between District 15-2A foes the Ripley Tigers and Millington Trojans came down to a conference between the head coaches and umpires in the top of the seventh inning.
Entering the final frame of the Monday Night Baseball clash, the host Trojans were ahead 3-1. As Ripley put together a rally to try to steal the league contest, a Tiger hit to the outfield led to both sides of the Miles Park crowd waiting in anticipation for the call.
With the score 3-2 in favor of Millington, Ripley had the bases loaded when Trojan reliever Chad Chadwick had an offering stroked to leftfield. For a moment it appeared Millington got the second out of the inning.
But the ball bounced out the glove of the leftfielder. Then mass confusion took over the base paths of the Miles Park diamond. After the umpire signaled out and then changed his call to no catch, Millington threw the ball to second recording the force out and then tag the Ripley runner heading toward third base apparently ending the inning tied at 3-3.
The Tigers did manage a run in all the chaos to deadlock the game. But the Ripley coaching staff protested the outcome on the field. After the conference, the umpires ruled Millington only recorded one out and Ripley had runners on first and second base with the score 3-3.
The Tigers had another shot to complete their comeback. After the bases were reloaded, a pass ball allowed the winning run to cross home plate. Ripley would leave Flag City 4-3 winners.
The Trojans left the field disappointed and looking forward to the rematch scheduled for tonight. Millington was cruising toward victory in the first game behind the pitching of Sam Johnson. The Trojan hurler limited Ripley to one run through six innings. The Tigers jumped ahead 1-0 in the third inning.
In Millington’s bottom half of the inning, the Trojans scored twice. Tommy Clifton sparked things with a base hit and by stealing second base. Chadwick followed with a single. Two batters later, Will Jackson put the ball into play leading to a Ripley error.
The duo of Clifton and Chadwick were able to step on home plate giving Millington a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Trojans added an insurance run when Jackson scored on another Tiger miscue. Millington shutdown Ripely in the top of the sixth inning with a quick 1-2-3 frame.
The Trojans recorded the first out of the seventh inning and stood two outs from a district victory. Then Ripley rallied to steal the win and head into the rematch ahead one game in the standing over Millington.