Turning two: Maryville double play helps Rebels hang on
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The field was too wet and the grass was a little too long on a cold Tuesday night for either team to ground into a double play on Charlie Puleo Field. But with the bases loaded and William Blount down by a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Governors did just that.
With WB trailing 5-4, Chandler Tuck laced a ground ball to Ben Young, who made the throw to sophomore shortstop Josh Lambert covering second, and Lambert made the turn to first for the twin-killing, rally-ending, game-winning double play to help Maryville escape with another one-run win.
“They hit one hard enough we could turn,” Maryville coach Jimmy Gaylor, whose team is now 4-1 in five one-run games this season, told The Daily Times.
“That makes all that work in the preseason turning double plays, ad nauseam, it makes it worth while.”
Daniel Raby picked up the win for Maryville (5-1), but not before loading the bases on a Jon Hammontree single and a pair of walks to Lane Bloom and Zeke Bonner in the Govs’ final at-bat.
All told Raby pitched 6.1 innings, giving up four runs before second basemen Patrick Poteet came on in relief with the bases loaded in the seventh. Lambert replaced Poteet at shortstop just in time to hlep turn the game-winning double play.
“Good job of Patrick coming in under stress,” Gaylor said, “first throwing strikes so we’re not giving them the tying or winning run, and Ben made a nice play.
“And our little sophomore (Lambert) that just came in when Patrick came into pitch turned it really well.”
“That’s not a routine double-play ball by any means,” William Blount coach Justin Young said. “But a hard enough hit ball to where you can turn two. And they made a great play.
“Even if that balls skips a little bit into right field, we might have been able to score two and take this game.”
William Blount (4-2) jumped on Raby early, getting an RBI single from Bloom and an RBI double that was just feet away from being a three-run home run from Bonner in the bottom of the first.
Bonner’s deep fly to left field hit off the top of the wall, scoring Hammontree from second for a 2-0 lead.
Raby settled in after that, giving up just two more runs over the next 4.1 innings.
“Daniel just needs confidence,” Gaylor said. “When he got off to a little bit of a bad start, I’m not sure if he got loose enough.
“He didn’t look real smooth that first inning — of course he threw enough pitches in that first inning that he was loose the rest of the game.”
William Blount starter Travis Moths retired Maryville in order in both the first and the second inning before the Rebels’ broke out for a three-run third.
Landon Hawkins started the inning with a solo home run. Nick Reynolds walked and later scored and Baylee Delozier single before eventually coming around to score on a wild pitch to give Maryville a 3-2 lead.
“Their pitcher mowed us down the first two innings, six up six down,” Gaylor said. “For Landon Hawkins to hit that home run to start the third might’ve loosened us up a little bit and gave us some confidence that we could do that.”
Drey Caplinger and Hammontree both singled and scored in the third — on Bloom and Bonner RBIs, respectively — to put WB back up 4-3 before Greg Johnson’s solo home run to start the top of the fourth tied it back up at 4-all.
Young singled and came around to score when Jones reached on a WB error in the fifth for the go-ahead run and the 5-4 lead.
“Like I told my guys, what we have to do is step up and make a non-routine play,” Justin Young said. “That’s what that (double play) was, that wasn’t a routine play. But they made the play right there at the end to win it.”