Grizzle helps Indians avoid North Hall sweep
The LCHS varsity baseball team avoided a series sweep at the hands of the North Hall Trojans last week when Lumpkin’s Matthew Grizzle blasted a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh in game three of the Region 7-AAA series for an Indians’ walk-off winner.
Grizzle’s clutch single with the Indians trailing 4-3 in the final inning of the the three-game series between the two Region 7-AAA clubs assured that the Indians wouldn’t be swept by North Hall and improved the team’s overall record to 11-11 and region record to 6-9.
The timely hitting by Grizzle marked the first time in the series that the Indians received a clutch hit from their hitters, as North Hall’s pitching staff held the Lumpkin lineup to just three runs in the first two games of the series.
The Indians had difficulty trying to get anything going offensively against the Trojans’ Wes Tadman in game one of the series at the LCHS baseball field on Monday, April 1.
Tadman tossed a complete game shutout versus Lumpkin in the contest, recording seven scoreless innings while striking out four. Tadman allowed eight hit to the Indians spread out in his seven innings of work.
As the LCHS starting pitcher for game one of the region series, Grizzle pitched well for the Indians against the Trojans’ potent lineup, but was unable to match the stellar performance of Tadman on the bump. Grizzle was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs off six hits in three innings of work. Grizzle struck out six Trojan batters while on the mound for Lumpkin.
Grizzle was relieved by Jacob Martin, who allowed two hits in four scoreless innings of work to finish out the ballgame.
The Indians’ defense didn’t help out the team’s cause in the contest, committing three errors.
Offensively, LCHS catcher Logan Choflet and LCHS outfielder Braylen Chastain both continued their hot hitting on the season with three hits apiece in the game. Lumpkin centerfielder Conner Pierce showed patience at the plate with two walks. Despite the strong games from Choflet and Chastain, the Indians were outhit in the game 9-8 by the Trojans.
In the end, North Hall took game one of the series by a final score of 4-0.
The two teams hooked back up for game two of the Region 7-AAA series when the Indians traveled to North Hall on Wednesday, April 3.
The Trojans got early runs in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the third against Lumpkin’s starter Tucker Kirk to take a 2-0 advantage over the Indians after the first three inning of the game. However, the Indians’ lineup heated up in the top of the fifth and plated three runs to take a 3-2 advantage over the Trojans.
The Indians took advantage of four defensive errors by the Trojans to begin their three-run fifth inning. Dalton Caldwell, Grizzle and Pierce all reached on errors by the Trojans’ third baseman to start the inning for Lumpkin. Eli Wingo, who delivered a huge home run for the Indians against Dawson County the week before, followed by belting a RBI sacrifice fly to score Caldwell for the Indians’ first run of the inning. Dalton Stephens scored Lumpkin’s second run with a RBI sacrifice fly to right to even the score at 2-2. Chastain gave the Indians the lead at 3-2 when he legged out a hard hit ball to short that scored Pierce.
Unfortunately for the Indians, Kirk began to falter on the mound in the bottom half of the frame and North Hall started a rally that would lead to six runs being scored in the inning. After allowing the Trojans to retake the lead at 7-3, Kirk exited the game. The Lumpkin southpaw allowed eight runs off nine hits during his 4 1/3 innings on the mound while striking out three. Nic Turner relieved Kirk and allowed another run before getting out of the inning. The Trojans held an 8-3 lead after the six-run inning.
The Trojans weren’t done, however, and plated another five runs in the bottom of the sixth to earn a lopsided 13-3 win.
North Hall racked up the bulk of its 14 hits in the game and scored a total of 11 runs during the final two innings of game two to emerge victorious and take a 2-0 series lead over the Indians.
The Indians, on the other hand, were only able to muster three hits in the loss.
Lumpkin felt the urgency to win when the two teams stepped back on the diamond to complete the three-game series at the LCHS baseball field on Thursday, April 4.
The Trojans plated two first-inning runs against LCHS starting pitcher Stephens to jump out to a 2-0 advantage and added another run in the top of the third and in the top of the sixth to hold a 4–0 lead over the Indians.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Indians’ lineup finally began to produce at the plate and cut the Trojans’ advantage to 4-3 with a three-run inning. Chastain got the inning started with a laser shot to left for a leadoff double. Choflet followed with a pop out to second for the first out of the inning. Chastain moved to third on a passed ball by the Trojans’ catcher. With a runner standing 90 feet away, Turner reached first and Chastain scored when the North Hall shortstop committed an error, cutting North Hall’s lead to 4-1. After Martin struck out for the second out of the inning, Caldwell singled to center to give the Indians runners at the corners. A patient at-bat for Grizzle loaded the bases for Lumpkin. The next batter, Pierce, smashed a hard hit ball through the left side of the infield to score both Turner and Caldwell and cut the North Hall advantage to 4-3. Wingo reloaded the bases with a walk before Stephens flew out to right field to end the rally.
Stephens set the Trojans down in order in the top of the seventh to keep the Indians within striking distance of North Hall. Stephens pitched a complete game for Lumpkin, surrendering four runs off seven hits while striking out eight.
Down to their final three outs and trialing by a run, the Indians needed a little late inning magic in order to pull out a comeback victory. That magic came in the form of Grizzle, who stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and delivered a walk-off two-run single that allowed the Indians to take the game by a final score of 5-4.
The inning started with Chastain reaching base on a North Hall error. After a Choflet strikeout, Turner walked to give Lumpkin runners at first and second with one out. Martin then singled to center to fill the bases with Indian runners. Caldwell popped out to first for the second out of the inning, giving Lumpkin one more out to work with. That’s when Grizzle unloaded on a 0-1 count and blasted a line drive to right field that allowed Chastain and Turner to score. The two-run single gave the Indians a walk-off winner and allowed the team to salvage a win and avoid a series sweep versus region rival North Hall.
Grizzle’s two game-winning RBIs and Pierce’s two RBIs to help the Indians cut the lead in the sixth inning led the Lumpkin offense’s production on the day. Chastain contributed two hits in the Indians’ victory.
The win improved Lumpkin’s overall record to 11-11 and its region record to 6-9, dropping the team to fifth in the Region 7-AAA standings behind Dawson County.
At press time, the LCHS varsity baseball team was set to square off with the Union County Panthers in a non-conference game at the LCHS baseball field on Monday, April 8. No official results were available.
The Indians will take the diamond against the Panthers for another non-conference matchup today, April 10, at the Union County baseball field. First pitch is scheduled for 5:55 p.m.
Lumpkin will finish the week with a non-conference game versus the Lakeview Academy Lions at the LCHS baseball field this Friday, April 12. First pitch for that game is set for 5:30 p.m.