The Adairsville Tigers couldn’t say that they didn’t have chances to beat North Murray Thursday in their region opener. The Tigers had eight hits to North Murray’s four and put runners on base in each of the first six innings, but pushed across just two runs and lost 3-2.
“[It was] a game we should’ve won,” Adairsville coach Billy Roper lamented. “We’ve got our best on the mound, we’ve got to give him some runs.”
Sam Seaman pitched through a sore hamstring and got into the sixth for the Tigers, but was responsible for the winning run after walking the first two hitters in the sixth.
The first, Braedon Bond, would come around with the eventual winning run as the Adairsville second baseman threw the ball away on a double-play attempt.
Adairsville had a chance to at least tie in the bottom of the sixth, but Caden Gibbs couldn’t get a bunt down and Garrett Mishoe was tagged out in a rundown between third and home.
Gibbs struck out two pitches later, turning a first-and-third, no-outs situation into a lone runner on second with two outs.
Noah Dutton then flied out to left field and the Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the seventh to cap the disappointing loss.
The chances came early and often for Adairsville.
Seaman tripled with two outs in the first, but Hunter Hice grounded out to second to end the inning.
North Murray then opened the scoring in the top of the second when Bond singled, moved to second on a sac bunt, advanced to third on a balk—one of two called on Seaman for not coming to a full stop—and scored on Preston Buck’s groundout to shortstop.
The Tigers put runners in scoring position with one out in each of the next two innings, but couldn’t push across their first run until the bottom of the fourth.
Halen Huskins singled to lead off and Mishoe’s hard-hit groundout to second moved him up a base.
Taylor Whitley followed with an RBI single and stole second base before Gibbs’ shot to center was misplayed by a retreating North Murray center fielder.
That scored Whitley and put Gibbs on second with one out, but Dutton struck out and Kyler Pelfrey flied out to left to end the inning.
“More than anything, when you’re not getting the clutch hit, every error is exaggerated. It’s bigger,” Roper said.
The missed opportunity for some insurance came back to bite the Tigers in the top of the fifth.
No. 9 hitter Ethan Payne singled with one out. A passed ball and a wild pitch moved him to third before Seaman got Waylyn James to pop up to second.
With two outs, though, Seaman walked Blake Davis and North Murray’s Brady Harper singled through the right side to score Payne and tie the game at two.
The Tigers almost took the lead back immediately, with Corey Nation and Seaman singling to lead off the bottom of the fifth, but Hice struck out and Huskins’ hard-hit ball up the middle was turned into a double play by North Murray shortstop Harper, who dragged his foot across second base as he fielded the ball and threw on to first to end the inning.
That led to the fateful sixth. Seaman walked the first two hitters he faced and was pulled, having thrown 97 pitches in five-plus innings, giving up just four hits and striking out five.
“He threw well enough to win the ballgame and we didn’t do anything to help him,” Roper said.
Pelfrey came in from shortstop to relieve him and looked to be out of the inning after striking out Buck and getting a perfect double-play ball to shortstop from Jaden Baggett, but a bad throw on the back end skipped past first baseman Gibbs and out of play.
Pelfrey struck out James to end the inning, but the damage was done.
“We got the lead late and just couldn’t make the plays,” Roper said. “Defensively, we helped them out. ... We’ve got to make the double play to get out of the inning.”
Mishoe singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and moved all the way to third on Whitley’s groundball that was mishandled by Harper, but he was caught in no-mans land when Roper put on the squeeze and Gibbs couldn’t get the bunt down.
That killed the scoring opportunity, and the Tigers went quietly in the seventh, with Seaman grounding out to end it.
The starting pitcher had two hits to go with his pitching line, as did Mishoe, but it wasn’t enough.