Tallulah Academy drops Game 1 of Class 3A championship series vs. Manchester
Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023
TALLULAH — It was hard to point to one single thing that did in Tallulah Academy on Tuesday night.
It might have been a couple of sloppy plays in the field that led to several runs. The lack of hitting certainly didn’t help, and neither did a dose of plain bad luck.
In the end, it all added up to a 6-1 loss to Manchester Academy in Game 1 of the MAIS Class 3A baseball championship series that put the Trojans’ backs to the wall.
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Manchester pitcher Brodey Walker had 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory, and Garner Burton was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
“I thought we would be better, but they battled. If I thought they weren’t trying it’d be a different story. But (Walker’s) a legit lefty and lefties give people trouble,” Tallulah coach Stuart King said. “He’s got three good pitches. I don’t think he’s been touched up all year. We had a game plan for him. Having one and executing it is two different things.”
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Thursday at 5 p.m. in Yazoo City. If Tallulah Academy (24-7) can win, it’ll force a deciding Game 3 back in Tallulah on Saturday.
“We’ve got tomorrow to regroup and then we go there. We will not see the lefty. I feel like we’ll bounce back and make a game of it. I think we’ll get back here,” King said.
Tallulah never got out of the blocks offensively against Walker. The left-hander retired the first 10 batters he faced and only gave up one hit through the first six innings.
Walker also helped himself with his glove. After Wyatt Bedgood singled with one out in the fourth inning for Tallulah’s first hit, Dee Morgan followed with a hard grounder back up the middle. Walker stuck his glove down to snag it, and threw to second to start an inning-ending double play.
The double play helped Walker face the minimum number of batters through five innings. Another runner was caught stealing to end the fifth inning.
“They threw their ace at us and he was better than us tonight,” King said.
Tallulah wasn’t blessed with the same kind of luck. In the top of the fourth inning, Burton led off with a double and Ryan Johnson followed with a ground ball to shortstop, right into a defensive shift. Tallulah’s Landry Tweedle caught Burton off of second base, but the Manchester runner made it back to the bag on a close play.
Two batters later, Reed Roberts and Mills Paul hit back-to-back RBI singles to put the Mavericks ahead 5-0.
Manchester added a run on a passed ball in the fifth inning. Roberts also had an RBI single in the third, and Burton had one in the second.
“Baseball is a game of momentum. If you’ve got the momentum they’re 7 foot tall. If they don’t they’re about 3 foot tall. As a coach it’s my job to keep them level, but that’s not as easy as putting the game plan together,” King said.
Tallulah finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tweedle led off with a walk, went to second on an infield single by Bedgood and third on an error, then scored on a groundout by Morgan.
Hayes Hopkins kept the rally going with a single, but Walker struck out the last two batters to end the game before it blossomed into anything more.
“Our game, we’re not a big home run, gap hitting team. We have to get on base, steal bases, bunt. It’s just the way it is,” King said. “When you fall behind 6-0, even 3-0, in the later innings you have to change your game plan a little bit.”