Sumrall sweeps St. Andrews from playoffs with 2-1 win
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:00 PM
RIDGELAND - Sumrall's Drake Pace and Drake Nightengale combined to throw a gem, and Sumrall handed St. Andrews a season-ending 2-1 loss Tuesday night in Sumrall.
Pace scattered six hits over 4.2 innings, struck out two and didn't give up an earned run, and Nightengale, a transfer from Poplarville, struck out four and gave up just one hit over the final 2.1 innings to seal the win.
The Bobcats (24-7) got two singles and an RBI out of Logan McGrew and two doubles and the other RBI out of Brady Hicks.
It just wasn't St. Andrews night.
Sure, Bennie Kirkland went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Seth Simmons added a couple of singles, but the Saints (22-9) just couldn't take advantage of scoring situations against stout Sumrall pitching.
There were plenty of examples, but here are the highlights:
- After Thomas Wilson and Seth Simmons singled to lead off the second inning, Mark McMillen laid down the sacrifice and moved both runners into scoring position. But Michael Sanderson and Mark McMullen struck out in back-to-back at bats to end the inning.
- In the fifth, Kirkland smacked a two-out double to left field with Graham Grogan at first to put both in scoring position. The next batter was Wilson, who struck out swinging against Nightengale.
The Saints got one base runner on in the final two innings when they desperately needed to score the tying run, and that was Simmons, who singled to right field before McMillen and Sanderson both struck out swinging against Nightengale.
Sumrall, meanwhile scored both of its runs on two-out hits.
The first came in the second inning, when Hicks hit a line drive in the gap and scored Logan McGrew from second base.
St. Andrews answered by taking advantage of Sumrall's lone mistake in the field. Connor Woodall led off and hit a hard grounder that Sumrall's Hicks barely reached at second base. Hicks jumped up and fired to first, but his throw was high and sailed to the fence behind first, allowing Woodall to reach second.
With the right guy at the plate at the right time, St. Andrews scored its only run when Kirkland singled up the middle to score Woodall from second.
But Sumrall answered the very next inning on a McGrew single to right field that scored Nightengale in the third inning.
Grogan was the hard-luck losing pitcher. He started, went the distance and pitched remarkably well to have come away with the loss.
He gave up eight hits and two earned runs against a lineup that averaged 7.1 runs per seven innings over the course of the season (and eight runs a game in its last five games headed into Tuesday.) He also struck out four to just three walks.
St. Andrews had already lost the first game of the series 10-1 Monday night in Ridgeland.
Sumrall advanced with the series win, and will face the winner of Wednesday night's matchup between West Marion and Southeast Lauderdale for the South State title.
The Saints and coach Mark Fanning have nothing to be ashamed of, however, as they put together their fourth-consecutive 20-win season.
The roster features six seniors who have been a part of each of those seasons. That list includes Sanderson, Wilson, Simmons, McMillin, Connor Woodall and catcher J.G. Burnett.
They'll return several key parts of this year's team, including Kirkland and Grogan, the Saints best one-two punch on the mound.
Peter Kinney, Alex Wilson, and McMullan round out a group of juniors who will be seniors next year.
Sumrall, who has put St. Andrews out each of the last two years, is expected to graduate just four players this year.