Patriots split playoff games

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Michael Shipma

Pike Liberal Arts School’s baseball team split its playoff double header at Bessemer Academy on Thursday night, losing the first game 8-7 and claiming the second game 9-5.

Reed Jinright was the leader for the Patriots’ offense in the pair of games, totaling three hits in six at bats to go along with two runs and two RBIs in his team’s third playoff game. Since the postseason series is tied at one game apiece, the Patriots and the Rebels will play the tiebreaker on Friday.

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In game one of the series, the two sides traded runs through the top of the third inning, and it wasn’t until Bessemer put up three runs in the bottom of the order that it would claim the lead. Two of those runs came from a Rebel two-run homer over the left field fence.

With the score at 4-1, Bessemer and Pike Lib each scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Reed Jinright was the Patriots’ second run of the game, scoring on a passed ball to make the score 5-2 in favor of the Rebels in the top of the fifth inning. Jinright finished 0-for-3 at the plate, but still managed to bat in two runners and score twice himself.

In the following inning, Pike Lib exploded for five runs to make things interesting. Murphy Renfroe, Trevor Barron, Kiegan Simmons and the Jinright brothers all scored in the inning, giving the Patriots a 7-5 lead.

Bessemer Academy responded, however, with a trio of runs over the course of the next two innings to get the lead.

The second game was a different story for the Patriots, as they were able to jump out to an early lead that they held the entire game. Pike Lib went up 8-2 by the end of the fourth inning to take control of the game as they sought to avoid the series sweep. The Patriots’ hot start was helped along by Hunter Jones, who went three of four at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored.

The Rebels tried to claw their way back into the game, but were only able to cut the deficit to four runs after a two-run inning made the score 8-4. Barron scored on a wild pitch for Pike Lib and Bessemer tacked on another run in the seventh to close out the scoring.

Reed Jinright got the win for the Patriots, striking out four batter and giving up just one hit.

The Patriots return to action Friday afternoon when they take on Bessemer for the third and final game of the series.