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Wildcats take first-round win

By Staff
IN THE DIRT Petal's Chase Coleman gets under the tag of Meridian's Richmond Alexander on a steal to second.Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
April 19, 2002
The Wildcats of Meridian High got off to a great start in the baseball postseason as they defeated Petal 4-1 Thursday night in the first game of the best-of-three 5A First Round Playoff series.
The homestanding Wildcats scored three runs in the first inning to take and early lead and senior pitcher Jason Spinks did the rest.
Spinks struck out ten batters and allowed only one run on three hits. The only runner to score on Meridian reached base when the third strike of a strike out was in the dirt and got away from the catcher.
The Wildcats got three runs to get an early lead in an unusual first inning. Lead-off man Richmond Alexander was hit by a pitch and Maurice Cole walked. John Stevens singled to load the bases with no outs. Torry Bates followed with a sacrifice fly to right. That's when the confusion set in. Bates rounded the bag and started to head back to the dugout. The right fielder got confused and thought Bates was the runner headed for second. The ball was thrown away allowing Cole to score. Another throwing error on the same play allowed Stevens to score and make the score 3-0.
Petal got on the board in the fourth inning. Patrick Ezell reached on a wild pitch after a strike out and moved to second on another wild pitch. Chase Coleman walked with one out in the inning to give Petal runners at first and second. Coleman was picked off and it looked like the Wildcats would get out of the inning, but David Sahler came through with a clutch single. Ezell scored from second to make the score 3-1.
Ezell, the pitcher for the visitors, and Spinks settled into a pitching duel for the rest of the game. Spinks allowed only two more batters to reach base after the fourth inning. Ezell got six of his seven strikeouts from the third inning on.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the sixth. Bates reached on an infield single to start the inning. John Iverson hit a fly ball to right that seemed routine. With the dark just setting in with a clear sky, the right fielder was unable to see the ball and Iverson ended up with a double. Ezell got the next two batters out and it looked like the two Meridian runners would be stranded, but courtesy runner Greg Harris broke for home when Ezell went into his wind-up. Harris beat the tag by the Petal catcher for a steal of home to make the score 4-1. Spinks worked through the seventh and picked up the win.
The Wildcats improve to 30-4 with the win while Petal falls to 19-10. Meridian will travel to Petal for the second game of the series at 6 p.m. tonight. The teams will face Saturday at 1 p.m. at John Moss Field if a third game in the series is needed.

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