Two is not enough
Published 10:31 pm Thursday, April 24, 2014
Pike, Fort Dale split Thursday matchups, winner-take-all game set for today
Pike Liberal Arts walked off a winner in game one, and found hits hard to come by in the second game of the double header en route to a Thursday split with Fort Dale Academy.
The Patriots picked up a 6-5 win in extra innings in the first game of the after, but fell to the Eagles 5-0 in the nightcap. With the split, Pike Liberal and Fort Dale will meet in a decisive game three Friday afternoon at 4 P.m.
Game 1 – Pike Liberal Arts 6, Fort Dale Academy 5 (8 innings): Murphy Renfroe laced a line drive single in to right center, and the ball was mishandled by the Fort Dale centerfielder allowing Connor Vowell to score from first to allow Pike to pick up the win in game one.
Renfroe’s single ended the contest, sent his teammates in to a frenzy and drew praise from Pike Liberal head coach Butch Austin.
“I am proud for Murphy,” said Austin. “He has been working to get better, and when we needed a hit, he got it for us. It turned out to be a lot bigger than we thought, and got us to Friday.”
Fort Dale rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game, and missed out on the go ahead run thanks to a perfect relay from the Patriots.
Pike left fielder Hayes Lee played a line drive off the left field wall, fired the ball to Vowell, the Patriot shortstop. Vowell turned and drilled a laser throw to catcher Drew Starling to nail the Eagle runner at the dish.
Pitcher Rush Hixon started the game for Pike Liberal Arts, but left the game early in the second inning after hearing a “pop” in his throwing elbow.
Chandler Avant threw the rest of the game for Pike, but Austin said the loss of Hixon is big for his team.
“Rush is a big part of our team in a lot of different ways,” said Austin. “Losing him hurts us, but he will be in the dugout trying to help anyway he can, I’m sure. He is a great kid.”
Game 2 – Fort Dale 5, Pike Liberal Arts 0: Pike’s first two batters of the game, Avant and Vowell, each picked up hits, but no Patriot batter would get another during the rest of the game.
Pike’s two hits were its fewest in any game this season.
“We hit the ball hard,” said Austin. “It just went right to them every time. You have to tip your hat to the pitcher, because that just happens some times.”
Jarrett Jordan threw three scoreless innings in relief to keep Pike in the game until the end.
For Austin it all comes down to one thing: having fun.
“All we have to do is come out on Friday and play loose,” Austin said. “Come out, have fun and play. If we do that, we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are all going to have a good night’s sleep and get ready to play tomorrow.”