Hall, Miller powers Petal's offense to walk-off win
PETAL – In a game that had an eight-run first inning and a nine-run fourth inning, naturally the most important frame came in the bottom of the seventh.
Petal built an 8-0 lead after the first, but in the bottom of the seventh it trailed Purvis 12-11. With runners on base, Jacob Hall and Braxton Miller slapped back-to-back singles to left field to score the tying and game-winning runs to take down the Tornadoes 13-12 Thursday night.
The early lead was almost forgotten when Purvis scored nine runs in the top of the fourth inning to jump up 11-10.
“That was clutch,” Petal head coach Larry Watkins said of Hall and Miller. “To comeback like that, because we definitely lost momentum. We gave up nine runs in an inning, and it’s hard to win when you do that. But, I was pleased with how it ended and how it started. The little stuff in the middle, our pitching, I was disappointed in that.”
Colton Rainey began the inning with a single to center, then Zach Parks laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second. Tanner Estill was hit by a pitch, and Hall delivered for the first of two clutch hits to score courtesy runner Michael Windham. During the next at-bat, Miller took a 2-1 pitch to left field, and Estill sprinted home to end the game.
Miller went 4-for-4 with a walk from the plate with four RBI and a run scored, and Hall was 3-for-5 with three RBI. In the eight-run first inning, Hall recorded two hits – a double and an RBI single.
The Panthers recorded 14 hits in the contest, and it was a good sight to see for Watkins and his team, as they scored zero runs in a nine-inning, 2-0 loss to Lawrence County Tuesday night.
“I was happy with that because it was frustrating the other night,” Watkins said. “We had one hit. We hit some balls hard, but it was right at them and Lawrence County played good defense. I was happy tonight that we found some gaps out there.”
Earlier in the game when Purvis took an 11-10 lead after the huge fourth, Petal came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Again, it was a Miller single to left field that scored Estill to tie the game at 11.
But, Purvis answered in the top of the sixth with another run to regain the lead, 12-11. Lane Knight walked to start things off, then Gabe Beall came in as a courtesy runner. While Quade Delancey was at the plate, Purvis head coach Tony Farlow put the hit-and-run on, and Delancey smacked a single to the left side that got by the left fielder.
Beall came all the around bases to give Purvis the late-game advantage.
However, Purvis had multiple opportunities to add to the lead late in the game, but it couldn’t string together hits to push across more runs.
“We’re learning, we’re young and this is a whole new team,” Farlow said. “We have to grow from these mistakes, and we have to execute. When you get guys at third base when the ballgame is on the line, you have to figure out how to get that guy across the plate.”
Trenton Flatt led the Tornadoes offense at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Beall scored three times as a courtesy runner, too.
The loss drops the Tornadoes to 2-2 after one week in the regular season, and the Panthers move to 3-1 overall.