Still Breathing…

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The 25-9 Demopolis High Tigers baseball team made history Saturday as they beat the 17-16 Monroe County Tigers 8-7in a dramatic finish to advance to the third round of the AHSAA baseball playoffs.

With their hopes dwindling on every pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning the Tigers faced a defining moment in their season. The definition was victory.

After losing a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tigers battled back to take a 8-7 lead in the top of the eighth inning, but were now starring down the barrel of being just one hit away from the end of their season.

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The Tigers manage to take a one run lead in the top of the eighth inning on a two-out Chad Schroeder double that would score junior Darrell Kent from second.

And with only a one run cushion between them and a long trip home to Demopolis, the Tigers had to make a defensive stand. But that stand became increasingly harder to make the closer the Tigers came to it.

Senior pitcher Devin “Moonlight” Goodwin started out the inning by hitting the first batter to put the tying run on base. Goodwin regained his composure on the mound and then got the next batter to pop out to deep center for the first out.

Goodwin would then move the runner over to second on a passed ball, but managed to collect a much-needed strikeout to get to within one out of the win.

Another batter would then reach first on a walk, putting runners in scoring position. And with the Tigers’ hopes dwindling, DHS head coach James Moody makes a bold statement when he calls for an intentional walk on the next batter, which unknowingly to many was Monroe County catcher Chad Downing who leads the team in home runs with 12 this season.

“I wasn’t going to give their best player a chance to beat us,” Moody said.

The intentional walk loaded the bases for the Monroe County Tigers and put Goodwin in a real tight situation. Hearts stopped beating moments later as a baulk call came from behind first base. But Moody quickly popped out of the dugout and tastefully explained that the ball was dead, and the baulk was called off.

But the problems still remained for the Tigers. Goodwin got into a jam with the next batter and was facing a 3-and-1 count.

But it was then that destiny would raise its beautiful head. On the next pitch, the batter chopped at a definite ball four on the outside edge of the plate and popped it up to shallow right where G. W. Washington was waiting with open arms. The ball fell quietly into Washington’s glove giving the Tigers their first second-round playoff win in over ten years.

“I think that this is were our schedule this season paid off,’ Moody said. “We had confidence when we needed it most, and you don’t get that from playing a mediocre schedule.”

The Tigers combined for a total of 10 hits against the Tigers of Monroe County, most of which came in the fourth inning as the tigers racked up five runs to take an impressive 7-2 lead.

Junior Seth Basinger would lead the way for the Tigers going 3-for-4 with the stick with two singles and a solo home run. Following Basinger was junior Bart Pettus who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs, a single and a two run homer. Blake Butler went 2-for-4, while Goodwin and first baseman William Meador each had one hit apiece. Washington would also collect a dinger in Saturday’s game as he went 1-for-4

The Tigers must now prepare for a best of three game series with the Trojans of St. James High School this Friday in the third round of the playoffs