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Rockets slip past Wildcats

By By Robby Atkinson / staff writer
March 18, 2004
DECATUR Meridian High was only four outs away from securing the championship in the 2004 East Central Community College Spring Break Tournament, but what a difference one inning can make.
Neshoba Central (9-5) trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Rockets rallied to score four runs with two outs to take the tournament championship 5-4 over the Wildcats.
The Rockets took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a couple of miscues by Meridian. Michael Smith led the inning off by reaching first on a walk, and moments later, David Goforth reached base on an error by the Wildcats which resulted in the first two runs for Neshoba Central. Both runs scored on a double by Jason Goodin.
The Rockets once again threatened in the third inning by getting a pair of runners on with two walks from Meridian starting pitcher Anthony Taylor.
The Wildcats made a sudden pitching change moments later by bringing in Tyler McMullen, who tossed five innings in a 10-0 win over Forest on Tuesday. McMullen got Meridian out of the jam on two pitches, which resulted in a ground ball out to second base.
Meridian High finally got on the scoreboard in a big way with three runs on the longest hit of the tournament. Kedric Martin led the fourth inning off with a single and McMullen followed with a double to set the table for Cordera Eason. Eason delivered a towering three-run home run that sailed deep over the left field wall to give the Wildcats the 3-2 lead.
Meridian (10-4) added its final run of the night in the sixth inning on a pair of errors in the infield by Neshoba Central and took a 4-2 lead. The Rockets scored the three runs that made the ultimate difference to take the 5-4 win over Meridian.
Scott Fieber led the inning off with a single and the next two batters were retired on a pair of flyouts.
The turning point of the game came on an error at second base by Clark Bullock that opened the door for Neshoba Central. Goforth reached on the error at second base, and Fieber scored on the play to cut the score to 4-3.
The game winning hit came moments later on a two-run single by Travis Butler that gave the Rockets the one-run lead and the win. Ricky McCrary (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Fieber, and McMullen took the loss for Meridian to drop his record to 2-1.
Meridian will return to action on Friday at Northeast Lauderdale at 1 p.m.
In the third-place game earlier in the day, Forest defeated Carthage 14-3.