Tallulah Academy edges Manchester to set up winner-take-all Game 3

Published 7:45 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

Tallulah Academy’s baseball season is not done yet.

J.T. McDaniel hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning, Tallulah added three more runs after that, and the Trojans beat Manchester Academy 6-5 on Thursday in Game 2 of the MAIS Class 3A championship series.

Tallulah Academy (25-7) evened the best-of-three series at 1-1. The winner-take-all Game 3 is Saturday at 6 p.m. in Tallulah.

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Manchester (34-6) took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning of Game 2, but could not hold it. Dee Morgan led off with a single, Hayes Hopkins followed with a walk, and both runners scored on McDaniel’s double to left field to put the Trojans ahead 3-2.

Cade Morgan added an RBI single later in the inning, Cole Boyte hit a sacrifice fly, and Wyatt Bedgood an RBI double to extend the lead to 6-2.

Manchester got a run back in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single by Dean Tyson, and nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback in the seventh inning.

Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases before Reed Roberts singled in a run and Mills Paul drew a bases-loaded walk to cut it to 6-5 with one out. McDaniel, who moved to pitcher in relief of Hopkins, then struck out the last two batters — the last after falling behind in the count 3-1 — to finish the game.

McDaniel earned the save, and also was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored at the plate.

Hopkins pitched 6 1/3 innings to earn the win and improve his record to 11-1. He had three strikeouts, but walked five batters, hit six and gave up eight hits.

Manchester left 13 runners on base. It had an eight-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time in the postseason.