Curse strikes in sixth inning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2004

If you’re a fan of baseball, then you should be quite aware of the infamous Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the Boston Redsox and the New York Mets, where Mookie Wilson hit a slow rolling ground ball down the first base line for what should have been the game-wining third and final out of the series to give Boston their first World Series championship in over 70 years. But the ball rolled ever so effortlessly through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner to score Ray Knight from third base for the win and force the series to seven games.

What game six was to the Redsox, the sixth inning will be to the Demopolis Tigers.

It’s ironic that the deciding factor in both games that the Tigers loss in this 3-game championship series, came in the sixth inning.

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In game one, after battling back from a 5-0 deficit, the Tigers managed to tie the game up at 5-5 headed into the sixth inning. But two errors would result in three runs for the Eagles to give them an 8-6 win.

Eagles shortstop Daniel Langley started things off in the sixth when he reached first on a Bart Pettus fielding error. Tyler Stovall then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Langley to second. With one out, the Tigers intentionally walked third basemen Nick Wheeler to get to first baseman Daryl Otwell. Otwell would not disappoint, as he grounded out to second for the second out of the inning.

Brack Mayhall (1-for-3) was then intentionally walked to get to pitcher Mitch Miller (0-for-2) for the third out of the inning. Miller, like Otwell before him, did not disappoint, but Tigers’ third basemen Seth Basinger did.

Miller hit a slow roller into the grass towards third base for what looked to be an easy out for Basinger. Basinger fielded the ball perfectly, but made a wild throw to first, which enabled three runs to score making it an 8-5 game.

To make matters even worse, the Tigers walked away from the bottom of the sixth with only one run on three hits. The Tigers had a chance to make a significant rally in the sixth, but greedy and unintelligent base running would result in the 8-6 loss, instead of the 9-8 win.

Senior Jonathan Sommers would pinch run for pinch hitter Bryan Padilla, who reached on a fielders’ choice. With one on and one out, junior G.W. Washington would triple to left center, but would only get two bases after being caught in a double pickle with Sommers at third. Sommers apparently waited too long at first for the ball to fall into the gap and could only muster two bases off the hit. But Washington, was eyeing third all the way, and when the two met at third, it was trouble.

Sommers eventually took the out and Washington was forced back to second to avoid a double play. But there was still hope in the air as junior Chad Schroeder came to the plate. Schroeder walked putting runners on first and second for second baseman Devin Goodwin. Down by three with two out and two on, Goodwin would single up the middle to score Washington, but would attempt to take two bases on the play and would become the final out of the inning.

Junior Bart Pettus (2-for-3) was due up behind Goodwin.

In game three, the Tigers would do it again, differently, but with the same results. Down by one 6-5 going into the sixth, the tigers would rally this time, for five runs to take a 10-6 lead, but would give up five in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 10-10.

In game one the Tigers would give up three runs on no hits with two errors in the top of the sixth, while producing one run on three hits and leaving one stranded in the bottom of the sixth.

In game three, the Tigers would produce five runs on seven hits leaving three stranded in the top of the sixth, while giving up four runs on five hits in the bottom of the sixth.

If there is one thing Demopolis fans will remember about this year’s state championship experience, it will be the sixth inning.