Prep Baseball: Salisbury ousted
By Bret Strelow
BOONEVILLE ó Justin Snow fired the ball to first base after fielding a seventh-inning grounder, and Salisbury’s Alex Britt collided with Starmount’s Caleb Pardue.
Britt didn’t knock down Pardue, but the result of the play officially knocked the Hornets out of the 2A playoffs.
Salisbury attempted to rally in the final two innings and lost 5-3 against the Rams in a second-round game Tuesday night.The Hornets (17-9) scored two runs in the top of the first inning, but a four-run bottom of the second gave Starmount (15-9) a 5-2 lead that remained unchanged until the seventh.”It’s redundant and every coach probably says it, but everybody loses their last game except for the team that wins the state championships,” Salisbury coach Scott Maddox said. “We had one bad inning, and you can’t have a bad inning in playoff baseball. Teams will jump on you and capitalize.”
Starmount left-hander Tyler Jackson ó a 6-foot-3, 225-pound ace who threw seven innings in a first-round win last week ó pitched the final three innings against Salisbury and allowed a run for the first time in three outings.
He got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth, and Robbie Ijames started a seventh-inning push with a one-out triple. He scored on an infield single by David Ijames.Jackson, who is 8-0, retired Forrest Buchanan and Britt to nail down the save.
“The key was to keep their first five off-balanced,” Starmount coach Mike McCann said. “Everything I’ve been reading, the first five are mashing and mashing. (Robbie Ijames) showed you his speed when he hits one and is on third base before you can blink an eye. He’s seeing beach balls.
“Everybody I talked to said Salisbury hit the ball well, and they didn’t lie.”
Right fielder Russell Michalec led off the game with a double off Starmount’s Tyler Howard, who picked up his first win of the season. Howard, normally the starting catcher, rarely pitched before the team’s No. 2 hurler quit.Michalec scored on David Ijames’ groundout to first base, and Buchanan came home on an infield single by Doug Seaman.
Salisbury starter Ben Ijames issued a leadoff walk and allowed one run to cross in the bottom of the first. He avoided more trouble when Howard lined into an inning-ending double play. Two errors before an out was recorded didn’t help the Hornets’ cause.
Snow singled to begin the Rams’ half of the second, and Shane Bryant drew a one-out walk.
Ijames had thrown a first-pitch strike to only two of the first eight batters, and Maddox turned to Robbie Ijames (2-2) after the second walk.
He allowed ninth-place batter Daniel Swaim to produce a single that loaded the bases, and the tying run scored in the next at-bat. Ryan Johnson hit a blooper that fell safely in front of center fielder David Ijames, who threw to third base for a force out. Derrick Wishon followed with a tiebreaking double that barely eluded left fielder Anthony Ijames’ glove, and Jackson delivered a two-run single.”For the first two innings we just didn’t play very smart or very well,” Maddox said. “They didn’t score after the second inning, but that kid they brought in is tough. I thought we did a good job of putting the ball in play against him, but we just dug ourself too big a hole to come back against him.”
The Rams will play host to Surry Central in the third round Friday. Salisbury, which opened the playoffs with a win at East Lincoln, has completed a season in which it earned a share of its first league title since 1984.”We had a great season,” Britt said. “It was a good run. We just didn’t come out with the intensity we had the other night.”
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.