Jones' hit takes Lions to 3A Regional Baseball Championship
Brady Jones belted a game winning single off the right field wall to lift Manila to a thrilling 6-5 victory over Rivercrest in the finals of the 3A Region 3 Tournament Tuesday afternoon at Tuckerman. Jones drilled a 1-1 pitch that sailed over the right fielder's head, scoring Dylan Wycoff to give the Lions the regional title.
"Hats off to my kids," said Manila Coach Steve Milligan. "We got down early in the game and could have hung it up. They could have said, 'we're in the state tournament and that's it' but they kept digging and clawing and eventually got back to where we needed to be. We had several chances to win the game, but kept letting Rivercrest off the hook. I was beginning to wonder how many cat lives we had, but we finally came through in the end."
Freshman Alex Richard began the winning rally with his third hit of the game to lead off the 10th inning. Wycoff pinch ran for Richard at first base, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Caleb Reinhart walked before brother Zack Reinhart laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs.
After Dillon Burrow struck out and Blake Miller popped out to short left field, Jones stepped to the plate and delivered the game winning blast.
"I was looking for a pitch on the outside of the plate, and he kind of left a breaking pitch up, and I went with it, like coach always tells me to," said Jones. "I was a little nervous when I came to the plate, but I settled down and knew I needed to do something. We were all ready to go home at that point. It feels great to win the regional."
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Caleb Reinhart walked, went to third on a double by Burrow and scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Blake Miller.
The Colts answered with four runs in the top of the second to take a 4-1 lead. Rivercrest scored again in the fourth to go ahead 5-1 before Manila rallied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Richard produced both runs with a ringing base hit, scoring Miller who had walked and Jones who doubled.
Manila inched closer with another run in the bottom of the fifth. Burrow drew a one out walk, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Jones, pulling the Lions to within one run, 5-4.
The Lions went into the bottom of the seventh needing to score at least one run to stay alive. Miller dropped in an opposite field single with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Jones went down swinging for the second out of the inning, Trey Walker came through with a big two-out RBI single just inside the third base line to tie the game 5-5. Walker was out at second trying to stretch his single into a double, ending the inning.
It looked as though the Lions had won the game in the bottom of the eighth on a base hit by Zack Reinhart, but pinch runner Colbey Williams missed home plate and was tagged out to end the inning.
"I thought Colbey scored the winning run," said Milligan. "He said he touched the plate, and it sure looked like he did. I guess I needed a red challenge flag," laughed Milligan.
Senior Blake Carr worked the first eight innings for Manila, giving up all five Colt runs, only one of which was earned. Carr surrendered four hits, struck out eight and walked six. The senior right hander gave up only one hit after the second inning. Jones picked up the win in relief, working two scoreless frames. Jones gave up one hit, struck out four and walked three.
Jones finished with a double, two singles, two RBIs and a run scored while Richard finished 3-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs. Blake Miller had two singles, drove in a run and scored once. Zack Reinhart had two singles, Burrow doubled and scored twice while Walker finished with an RBI single.
"We had a lot of people come up big tonight," said Milligan. "Jones had the game winning hit. Walker had the huge hit to keep us alive in the bottom of the seventh and that couldn't have happened to a better kid. Alex Richard came up big as well and he is just a freshman. Our big senior right hander Blake Carr really gave a gutsy performance on the mound. It was a great team effort."
Zack Reinhart pitched Manila past Lamar 7-2 Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Class 3A State Baseball Tournament at Prescott. Reinhart (6-3) went the distance, striking out eight while scattering seven hits. The right-hander issued four walks and allowed two earned runs.
Reinhart helped his own cause with a single, a double and two RBIs at the plate. Blake Miller also had a 2-4 day and scored a run. Caleb Reinhart added a hit, drove in two runs and scored once, while Dillon Burrow added a single and a run scored.
Smackover ended Manila's state title hopes, defeating the Lions 8-4 Friday afternoon at Prescott.