A one out wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning propelled Cairo pinch runner Asa Childree to score from third base and secure a 1-0 win over Thomasville in the Syrupmakers’ summer ball opener on Friday.
Childree pinch ran for Spence Cooper, who reached by beating a grounder that was bobbled by THS pitcher Oren King. Though King’s throw appeared to beat the runner – enough to prompt THS coach Erik McDougald to seek validation from the first base umpire – Childree was called safe on the premise that the first baseman foot was not on the bag.
Childree advanced to second when King’s attempted pick off went past the first baseman’s feet and to the fence, then reached third on a sacrifice ground out by Drew Leverette.
“Our field doesn’t have as much distance [from third base to home plate] as others, so I tell them ‘If you have a good break, go. But if you hesitate, stop and come back,’” Cairo coach Ron Best said. “To be honest, we were very fortunate because we got a good break and went then hesitated and went anyway. Usually that’s an out.”
Game 1 of Friday’s trifecta at Cairo was headlined by stern defense from both teams. Other than the wild pitch on the final play, there were no errors; each side had at least a pair of acrobatic plays to force a runner out and both teams combined for just six hits.
Thomasville was nearly no-hit until Matthew Green reached on a dribbler down the third base line that forced a tight play for Cairo third baseman Harley Ponder, who’s throw was a half step too late.
Cairo pitchers Emerson Hancock and Brick Kinni held Bulldogs batters to just one walk with six strikeouts and the lone hit. Best, however, said he never really pondered keeping Hancock, the starter, in the game despite holding a no-hitter through four innings.