The Commerce diamond Tigers opened up their 2013 season with a clutch win as they defeated Jackson County in extra innings last Saturday.
The Panthers jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the top of the first inning.
The Tigers quickly answered when Trevor Johnson got on base and was batted home by J’Various Wood in the second inning.
After holding Jackson County scoreless for two innings, the Tigers took the lead in the third after Robert Hayes drove in a run, putting the Tigers up 2-1.
Commerce was making contact, getting runners on base, but was unable to send runners home for the next five innings.
Jackson County tied it up in the top of the fifth and the score remained deadlocked, sending the game into extra innings.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth, Chandler Rodgers drove a runner home and sealed a 3-2 Tiger victory.
“We had chances to open the game up several times with the bases loaded and did not do so,” said Tiger head coach Steve Cotrell. “We ended up scratching and clawing and winning in nine innings. We are very young in some spots and we have a lot of growing up to do in a hurry. The positive is we found a way to win.”
Cotrell noted in particular, the performance of senior Robert Hayes.
“(Hayes) came to play both on the mound and at the plate and didn’t care how cold it was,” he added.
Hayes was 2-for-3 at bat, and pitched seven innings with nine strikeouts.
Daniel Streetman closed out the game, pitching two innings and fanning three.
The Tigers fell to East Hall 12-5 later that day.
Commerce was up 4-3 in the sixth inning, but walked an East Hall batter with the bases loaded. Afterwards, “the doors fell off,” said Cotrell.
The Tigers walked 10 batters in the sixth inning alone, giving up nine runs.
“I don’t care who you are, if you walk or hit 17 batters, you are not going to win,” said Cotrell. “It will be very challenging in practice this week for our young kids, but we will see how we mature from this point on. It was the first day for us and usually the biggest improvement is from day one to day two on the diamond.”
The Tigers travel to Banks County on Thursday, March 7, to take on the Leopards at 5 p.m., and then travel to East Jackson on Friday for a matchup with the Eagles at 6 p.m.