High School Baseball: Dobyns-Bennett's Season-Ending Deja Vu

Dee WilcoxAnalyst IMay 4, 2008

It's A Little Thing, sometimes a big thing called "Deja Vu," and Sullivan South has been there before. Coach Anthony Richardson said that helped the Rebels this time around.

In many ways, Saturday's District I quarterfinal game was a repeat of the meeting with D-B last Monday in Kingsport.

Ben Daniels' single scored Tyler Ball from second base in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Rebels to a 5-4 victory over a D-B team that once again erased a four-run deficit in the seventh inning to force extra innings.

On Monday night, the Indians rallied from a 6-2 deficit and Saturday it was a 4-0 deficit.

And once again, D-B failed to score after loading the bases with no outs and South's Tristan Archer on the mound.

Only this time, Archer started and got the outs when fatigue was starting to get to him.

"I'm glad Ben got that hit,'' said Archer. "My legs were getting tired, and I don't think I could have gone another inning.''

"I was looking for a curveball,'' said Daniels. "He'd pretty much thrown me curveballs all night.''

The victory sends South into Sunday's semifinal game against David Crockett, which beat Sullivan East 3-0 in a game that didn't get started until nearly 9:30 p.m.

"I think having been there with them in that situation last time helped us tonight,'' said Richardson, whose team improves to 22-9.

"We had bases loaded, no outs and our Nos. 2-3-4 hitters up,'' said D-B coach Mike Ritz. "I was a little worried when our No. 2 (Jamie Crawford) hit the dribbler to third. But we still had Justin (Trent) coming up and I figured he'd hit a line drive — and he did — but it was right at somebody.''

South second baseman Dylan Ellis caught it and threw to third to double off Trevor McNew, who instinctively broke toward the plate after seeing the line drive and couldn't get back.

What would have been a game-winning hit Monday night was snagged by Rebel shortstop Seth Johnson.

"It's a win,'' said Richardson. "Give them credit. They battled back. They probably had more chances that we did. I looked at it and figured we got the toughest draw, the way they had been playing. If they'd played all season the way they did at the end, they wouldn't have been a No. 7 seed.''

Richardson said he was concerned about Archer (7-2) tiring, "but when I checked his pitch count, he was still only about 70. I wanted to stay with my best in that situation.''

"I just tried to keep the ball down,'' said Archer, "and get ground balls. He (Trent) really hit the ball well, but fortunately is was right at one of our guys.''

D-B had loaded the bases in the top of the eighth on consecutive singles by Dylan Harvey, McNew and Lane Taylor, with Taylor's of the infield variety. Crawford then hit a dribbler to third that Ben Begley fielded and threw home for the force. That's when Trent hit a shot that Ellis snagged.

South had built a 4-0 lead with some good hitting and some sloppy Indian fielding. Three of the four runs were unearned off D-B ace Gabe Overcast (5-4).

"We told the kids coming in we couldn't afford to make fielding mistakes against South, but we did,'' said Ritz.

Tyler Ball singled, stole second, went to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a throwing error in the third. Ball then doubled home Begley, who had singled and was sacrificed to second in the fourth.

In the fifth, Stephen Owenby doubled and scored when the D-B second baseman dropped a pop-up will looking back into the sun. Then, in the sixth, Reid Mathews doubled and scored on another throwing error.

Still, the Indians nearly overcame the boots.

Harvey singled to open the top of the seventh and came home on McNew's triple. Taylor then singled home McNew. Crawford followed with a single and the third run of the inning scored on Trent's ground out and the fourth on Nathan Millsap's single.

But with no outs, Archer retired the final three batters to keep it at 4-4 and then survived the bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth.

D-B outhit South, 11-9, but on the scoreboard South had one more run and that's all that mattered.

Weston Carr is expected to pitch for South on Sunday. In the other game Sunday, Science Hill (26-5) will face Tennessee High (16-13), which spotted Daniel Boone a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh before rallying for two runs in the bottom of the inning to advance with a 6-5 victory on freshman Stephen Mullins' clutch single with the bases loaded and one out.

Ball led South with three hits, two of them doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. Owenby also had two hits.

Ritz, whose team finished 13-17 after a 5-14 start, said there is a lot to look forward to next season.

"We lose some really good players,'' said Ritz, "but we've got 16 boys back and a good group of freshmen coming up. We have to go to work this summer and make progress, but we'll be okay.''

Sullivan South 5, Dobyns-Bennett 4, 8 innings

Dobyns-Bennett 000 000 40 -- 4 11 4
Sullivan South 001 111 01 -- 5 9 3

Gabe Overcast and Nathan Millsap; Tristan Archer and Ben Daniels. WP--Archer (7-2); LP--Overcast (5-4).