One of the best things about baseball is you may see something you’ve never seen before, like a two-run infield single.
Brandon Baskette put the ball in play in the sixth inning when Gate City scored its only runs to pull out a thrilling, 2-1 win over Grundy in the first round of the Region D, Division 2 playoffs Monday at Brogan Field.
Cory Franklin reached on Grundy’s only error of the game and Hunter Wolfe and John Brooks drew walks to set the stage for Baskette.
The circumstances helped. Baskette bounced a 3-2 fastball into no-man’s land between the mound and second base. Franklin raced home with the tying run and Wolfe and Brooks, with two outs, got running starts.
As Grundy shortstop Nick Travis dove to try and make the play Wolfe was able to come around and score from second and Brooks was past second base when Travis got to the ball.
It made a tough-luck loser of Grundy pitcher Charles McCoy, who took a one-hit shutout into the sixth.
“We played hard, they played hard and I give all the credit to number 12 (McCoy) for keeping us off-balance,” Gate City coach Robbie Perry said. “(Grundy) got off the bus and they were ready to play.
“It took us five innings before we were ready. Once we got the opportunity Baskette put the ball in play. We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. With a 2-2 count, that would have been a ground ball out.”
Grundy had its chances to score, but ran into some bad luck. Daniel Tiller singled home Jordan McCoy in the first inning and was later struck with a line drive off the bat of Taylor Cole for the second out of the inning.
Tiller also missed a mammoth two-run homer by inches as it hooked foul high over the right field fence in the third. Travis was stranded at third base in the seventh.
“We had some weird things happen,” Grundy coach Scotty Bostic said. “We got a runner hit by a line drive when we were hitting the ball real well and had some momentum. That long strike (by Tiller) would have helped us. But I’m proud of these boys they worked their butts off and played one of the best games they’ve played all year.
“We had some bad luck in the sixth. (Baskette) couldn’t have placed it any better. We knew we wouldn’t have a chance (to get an out) at any of the other bags and we didn’t have a chance at first. I’m tickled to death with their effort. You just need a little bit of luck every now and then. We just didn’t have it today.”
Starter Kyle Graham and Franklin, who got the win in relief, like Charles McCoy, worked in and out of jams several times in a game that was tight from the start.
“Honestly I didn’t want this to be my last game. I didn’t want that bitter feeling,” Franklin said. “Like coach always says you got to go out every pitch you can’t get hung up on your last pitch.”
Grundy 100 000 0 – 1 5 1
Gate City 000 002 x – 2 2 2
C. McCoy and Cole. Graham, Franklin (5) and Starnes. W-Franklin (2-5). L-C. McCoy (2-6). HR-none.