By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BASTIAN, Va. —
The Graham G-Men pulled off a most improbable comeback, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday night to beat Rural Retreat 10-9 in the final game of day one of the Yo-Na Invitational Tournament.
Jay Boone’s RBI groundout with the bases loaded brought Spencer Sheets home to end the marathon game that lasted over 3 hours.
Graham led 3-0 after the first inning, a frame that included one hit and three Rural Retreat errors. The Indians used a four-run third inning to go ahead, but the G-Men answered in the third with two runs, both generated by a two-RBI single from McKinley Webb.
Boone got his first of three RBIs in the fourth, scoring Tommy Lovell for a 6-4 advantage.
The Indians scored five times in the sixth inning to reclaim the lead, 9-6. That included a play at the plate in which Rural Retreat base-runner Wyatt Sowers arrived at about the same time as Graham catcher Corey Monninger.
The Graham players and coaches thought the umpire had singled an out, but Sowers was ruled safe and the inning continued, with two more runs scoring.
The G-Men (3-2) pushed across one run in the bottom of the sixth but trailed 9-7 going into the final frame.
Tommy Lovell pitched the first four innings for Graham, throwing 85 pitches and allowing six hits and four runs while striking out five and giving up one base on balls.
Graham reliever Logan Kirk pitched the final three innings. After the Indians’ five-run outburst, he and the G-Men defense sat down the final four Rural Retreat batters to set up the fireworks in the seventh.
Webb drew a walk off Rural Retreat reliever Ryan Chandler, followed by three straight singles by Josh Conley, Sheets and Tommy Lovell. Kirk’s base on balls with the bases loaded tied the contest.
Boone worked a 1-1 count, then grounded to shortstop Wyatt Sowers, who took a moment of hesitation and threw to first to record the second out.
But Sheets simultaneously dashed to the plate and there was no play by the Indians.
Boone said his thoughts in the final at-bat were, “Just do what I was supposed to: Drive in the run. That was all that was on my mind.”
Graham head coach Matt Dixon said, “I’m really proud of them. They showed a lot of resiliency. I told them there in the huddle, I think they grew up a little bit there tonight.”
“You know, I told them we’ve got a lot of guys that have played a lot of games against the Abingdons, the Tazewells of the world, and there’s no reason to play the game scared. These guys showed a lot of fight there in the end to come back.”
“Hats off to Rural Retreat. They came here, and I knew they’d battle us. We’d beaten them already twice this year.”
“And hats off to my guys. They never gave up.”
The G-Men return to Bastian to play Holston at 5 p.m. Tuesday in another Yo-Na tournament game. Rural Retreat will play Montcalm on Tuesday in the 7:30 p.m. tournament game.
— Contact Tom Bone at
At Skip Dillow Memorial Field
Rural Retreat..........004 005 0 — 9 9 7
Graham...................302 101 3 — 10 9 4
W.K. Dalton, Ryan Chandler (3) and Jordan Corvin. Tommy Lovell, Logan Kirk (5) and Kirk, Monninger (5). WP - Kirk. LP - Chandler.