Bobcats catch fire in extra inning
By Andrew Alexander
April 25, 2011, was senior night for the Hardin County Tigers, but the McNairy Central Bobcats did not seem to care, scoring six runs in the top of the eighth inning to make the final score 8-3 and break the hearts of the Tiger seniors.
Junior starting pitcher Blake Chandler aided the Bobcat effort, throwing hard for six innings and working himself out of trouble with runners in scoring position on several occasions.
“We played a great game, and the guys fought all the way to the end,” said Bobcat Head Coach Brian Franks.
The starting pitching, for both teams, dominated the early innings of last Monday evening’s contest as the score was deadlocked at goose eggs after three.
McNairy Central managed to push a run across the plate in the top of the fourth with a Chandler sacrifice fly that allowed Austin Gafford to give MCHS a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats shut the Tigers down in the fourth, and with a combined effort of sound defense, crafty coaching decisions, and a pitcher working himself out of a jam, Central kept Hardin County scoreless through five innings.
Hardin County senior starting pitcher Corey Jerrolds was no slouch on his senior night, holding the Bobcats to one run through six innings, but Chandler was too much for the Tiger hitters and the score remained 1-0 going into the seventh.
Senior Eric Moore was credited with the RBI that gave the Cats a two-run advantage, and was then brought in to pick up the save in the bottom of the inning after the Tigers hit back-to-back doubles off Chandler and finally sent a runner across the plate, making the score 2-1, still in favor of MCHS.
Just when it appeared McNairy Central, and Moore, had the game locked down, Hardin County’s Barker Burnham doubled home a run and tied the game at 2.
When the bonus baseball rolled around, the Bobcat bats woke up.
Once again, Chandler found a way to drive Gafford in to score and put Central up a run.
MCHS put a few more runners on base before Moore chalked up two more RBIs on a shallow fly ball that fell into left field, making the score 5-2, Bobcats.
McNairy Central tacked on three additional runs to cap off a terrific top of the eighth and carried an 8-2 advantage into the bottom of the inning.
Hardin County attempted to mount a two-out rally and scored a run, but Moore, and the Bobcat defense, quieted the Tiger’s roar and ended the game 8-3.
“It was a great win,” said Coach Franks, “the guys did a great job finishing.”
Moore was awarded the win and also had 3 RBIs while Chandler gave up one earned run over six innings, struck out three, and had 2 RBIs in the game.
Gafford proved to be the most productive member of the Cats’ offense Monday, reaching base safely four times and scoring three of the Bobcat runs.
The victory gave McNairy Central a record of 18-7 overall and 5-1 in District 14AA.