Lions walk off Hancock Co., 13-12

Jay Compton jcompton@civitasmedia.com

April 25, 2014

After committing two errors and giving up four runs to fall behind in the top of the seventh inning, the Pineville Mountain Lions pushed across three runs of their own with two out in the bottom of the inning to pull out a 13-12 win over Hancock County, Tenn. on Thursday.

“We played six innings of good baseball and then in the top of the seventh we just tried to give it away. We made two errors and they scored two runs,” said Pineville coach Scott Jeffrey. “But these kids have got a lot of fight in them. They came back in the bottom of the seventh to score three runs and win it on a walk-off. They never quit.”

The Lions led 7-3 after three innings but Hancock scored three times in the fourth and it was a tight game the rest of the way.

Tyler Givens singled to bring in Tyler Evans and put Pineville up 8-6 after five, but Hancock got an RBI single from Dakota Trent and an error allowed Tyler Mullins to score the tying run in the top of the sixth.

Pineville looked to have the game in hand when Jordan Slusher belted a double to right-center to bring in Jalen Byrd with a go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. Slusher then stole third with two out and scored a big insurance run on a throwing error on the play.

“Jordan has been solid for us all year. He’s a heck of a catcher, but offensively he’s really stepped up here lately,” Jeffrey said. “He had two big hits and that one was a deep ball.”

The Lions’ 10-8 lead wasn’t safe, however. Freshman Will Adams, who pitched all seven inning for Pineville, started the seventh by getting a strikeout and a flyout. But Branson Hold singled to keep the inning going and Mullins lofted a high fly ball to right that fell in for an error. Trent followed with a two-run double to tie the game and the Indians went on top 12-10 after Jonathan Perry reached on an error and Kenton Gibson’s single to center was misplayed. Adams was able to induce a pop out back to the pitcher’s mound to end the inning.

“Honestly, I thought Will did a good job pitching for us. Defensively, we made some errors behind him but he pitched well,” Jeffrey said.

Pineville had one last rally in them, though. Jacob Shackleford led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to deep left and, one out later Adams was hit by a pitch. With two down Byrd reached on an error to load the bases and Slusher followed with his second double in as many innings. The drive to left-center was just out of the reach of the Indian center fielder and Shackleford and Adams both scored on the hit to tie the game at 12.

Senior Caleb Dunn then hit a bouncer back through the middle to bring in Byrd with the winning run.

“This is Caleb’s first year playing for us but he’s been a blessing for us,” Jeffrey added.

Slusher’s two doubles and three RBIs led the Pineville offense while Adams had two hits, walked and was hit by a pitch on his way to scoring three runs. Byrd twice reached on errors, singled, walked and scored three times. Dunn and Givens both had two hits while Shackleford doubled and Tucker Woolum singled to drive in a run and scored once. Evans was hit by a pitch, walked twice and scored two times.

Holt had two singles and a double for Hancock County, he also walked, scored four runs and drove in two. Perry also had three hits while Trent and Kwade Alder both singled and doubled. Braden Fisher, Kenton Gibson and Cody Easterday also had hits for the Indians.

Pineville (7-6) will host Harlan on Monday and then play at Lynn Camp on Tuesday.

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Hancock Co. 300 302 4 12 13 3
Pineville 232 012 3 13 11 5
Dakota Trent, Keaton Gibson (4) and Jonathan Perry, Trent (4); Will Adams and Jordan Slusher. W — Adams. L — Gibson.