Saltillo stays alive in first round series against James Bowie

By JIMMY ROGERS | News-Telegram Correspondent

May 5, 2007 - MOUNT PLEASANT - Saltillo defeated Simms James Bowie 3-0 in the first game, but lost 4-0 in the second of a bi-district doubleheader Friday night at Chapel Hill.

A third game, set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Chapel Hill diamond, determines which team advances to area.

The first round of playoffs pitted the Saltillo Lions, which had finished second in District 17-A behind North Hopkins, and the Bowie Pirates, which placed third in District 18-A behind McLeod and Maud.

Saltillo 3, James Bowie 0

In the first game, the Lions scored two runs in the bottom of the first and one in the bottom of the second before Pirate losing pitcher, junior Justin Arsenault, settled into a productive groove as he struck out nine while walking only two of the 25 Lion batters he faced. He gave up only two hits in his six-inning effort.

The first Lion batter to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, Derek McClure, was struck by the first pitch. An error on a routine ground ball to third allowed Miles Payne to reach second base and moved McClure to third. With one out, a wild pitch to Lion batter Travis Thompson allowed both McClure and Payne to score when the Pirate catcher threw the ball to an empty home plate and the ball trickled into the infield.

The third run for the Lions occurred with two outs in the bottom of the second when Steven Mobley, ninth in the Lion batting rotation, was safe at first after his fly to left field was dropped. McClure drew a walk, advancing Mobley. Payne hit into a fielder's choice that moved Mobley to third. A Nolan Garmon single to center field scored Mobley, but McClure, also trying to score off the hit, was thrown out by the Pirate center fielder.

Saltillo sophomore Chase Carr was the game winner. Carr went the distance on the mound facing 31 Pirate batters, striking out four, walking five, and giving up four hits. Carr threw 80 pitches and according to Lion coach T. G. Sandifer, Carr would not be back on the mound Saturday.

James Bowie 4, Saltillo 0

In Game 2, the Lions could muster only one hit and that in the fifth inning.

Sandifer stated, “I knew James Bowie would come back after we won the first game.”

Sandifer also said his team gave them the opportunity. “We made an error early in the second inning and my guys just got down from there. They got on the board and we got down on each other and it changed the whole game.”

McClure led off the second game for Lion batters and was once again allowed first base after being struck by a pitch. He stole second and third before Payne drew a walk. Payne stole second and with runners on second and third, Garmon popped out to short. Travis Thompson struck out and a quick throw by the Pirate catcher to third caught McClure off the bag for the third out. That was as close as the Lions came to scoring in the second game.

The Pirates scored three runs in the third. With two on and two out, Shane Graham's two-run single put his team on the board. Then Graham scored on a double off the bat of designated hitter Kody Karr. Their fourth run came in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded fielder's choice.

Lion sophomore Garmon was the losing pitcher, throwing 65 pitches to 26 batters, striking out five, walking four and giving up four runs and five hits.

Pirate junior Zack Stringer picked up the win facing 27 Lion batters, striking out nine, walking six and giving up only one hit.

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