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Meridian defeats Nederland

By Staff
OVER THE TOP – Meridian's Ryan Bennett slides under Nederland's Ryan Butler (12) to come in safe to second during Saturday tournament play at Meridian Community College. See C6 for coverage of the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Aug. 4, 2002
Timely two-out hitting and a strong relief effort from Ricky Gardner lifted the Meridian Babe Ruth All-Stars to its second straight win in the Southwest Regional 14-year-old Division Tournament here Saturday at MCC's Scaggs Field.
All nine of Meridian's runs in the 9-2 victory came after two out against Nederland, Texas. The win was Meridian's second straight in the tournament and moves them into a Sunday date at 2 p.m. against Jefferson Parish Recreation Department East.
Nederland was forced to play an elimination game against El Dorado Ark., on Saturday evening.
Meridian manager Larry Vick was glad to see his team make contact at the plate following a shaky first inning.
Nederland got just a single run out of a bases-loaded, an no-out situation in the first. McMullen, after allowing a RBI hit to Ryan Meade and a walk, struck out the next two batters. He then got Aaron Dalton to hit into a fielders choice at second to end the threat.
Meridian bounced back getting two runs in the bottom half of the first. With one out, Drew Snider and McMullen both singled. Following a fly out, Tyler Vick got a ball past short to score Snider and McMullen for a 2-1 lead. Meridian would not trail again.
Three more runs were struck in the second following another two-out rally. J. Stoddard cracked the first of four straight hits with two out. Snider drove him in on a hit to left and McMullen followed with a steaming double past the Nederland left-fielder for two more runs and a 5-1 lead.
It stayed that way until the fifth when McMullen began tiring from the searing heat at Scaggs Field. He hit one batter and walked three others including one with the bases-loaded to cut it to 5-2. Vick pulled him bringing in his stopper in Gardner.
Gardner struck out his first man faced to end the threat.
Meridian then responded with a four-run rally to seal the contest. With the bases-loaded, Stoddard laid down what looked to be a perfect squeeze bunt.
But the umpires ruled he had made contact twice with the ball and was out of the box.
That they did. Snider singled hard to left scoring Corey Hart for a 6-2 lead. Nathan Peden then came in on a passed ball to up the lead to 7-2.
McMullen then ripped a two-run single to center scoring Drew Edwards and Snider to make it 9-2.
McMullen, who not only got the pitching win to go with three hits and four RBIs, also threw out a Nederland base-runner trying to swipe second in the top of the sixth.
Gardner, meanwhile, retired five of the next six batters including two straight strike outs to finish the game. He went 2-plus innings to grab his second save of the tournament, fanning four while allowing no hits or runs.
McMullen scattered five hits and walked six. Matison Smith took the loss for Nederland.
Snider went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Peden had two hits and two runs. Meridian finished with 10 hits in all.
Nederland was paced by Ryan Meade who went 2-for-3.

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