by Hunter Dawkins (Photos by Lindsey Grantham)
As most would indicate, falling behind by nine and six runs is not a good way to start off a baseball game. The West Harrison Hurricanes (12-5, 1-1) did both this weekend, but rallied in each game for walk-off wins against Stone County 12-11 and Picayune 10-9.
“They had a lot of momentum after jumping on our pitcher opening the game,” said West Harrison Baseball Coach David Marsland after the walk-off 12-11 victory against district rival Stone County Friday night. “There was never any quit, we didn’t panic and we just battled through it.”
Coming off a Tuesday loss against Stone County, the Hurricanes hosted the Tomcats and began the game in a nine-run hole in the first three innings. Fortunately, West Harrison used energy behind the bats of Senior Taylor Woodcock, Senior Tate Parker, Junior Llanes Dickerson, and Sophomore Brennan “Big Country” Jones to put together a four-run bottom of the fourth inning.
With the reduction of the lead by Stone County, the Hurricanes Senior Hunter Hammertree began pitching which slowed the bats of the Tomcats. West Harrison Junior DK Donaldson singled in two runs in the bottom of the fifth to shrink Stone County’s 11-6 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the straw was broken from back of the camel with the Hurricanes 5-run rally after a single from West Hurricane Junior Coleton Smith drove in a run followed by the mammoth Grand Slam by Woodcock to tie the game.
Two innings later, West Harrison Sophomore Jace Ochoa hit the walk-off single to complete the 8th inning rally district victory.
The Hurricanes put 15 hits and 11 walks on the board, with Smith and Parker reaching base four times. Woodcock had the only extra-base hits with a stand-up double before the grand slam and knocked in six runs.
Hammertree tossed 6 1/3 innings in relief, earning the victory but allowing three earned runs. The sophomore allowed only 4 hits while striking out three.
In the next game against 5A classification rival from Picayune, the Hurricanes did much of the same, falling back in the first inning by six runs. With Ochoa being brought in relief, the bats of the Maroon Tide settled quickly.
In the bottom of the third, Hurricanes Senior Parker stepped up and blasted a two-run homer to slim Picayune’s lead 6-2.
Following West Harrison Senior Derek Necaise single and Woodcock’s 2-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Hurricanes cut the lead 6-5.
Necaise hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth to bring in a run while Donaldson flied out but the Maroon Tide allowed two runs on errors. After this the Hurricanes were up 8-6.
“Big Country” Jones came to the rescue tying the game for the Hurricanes at the bottom of the sixth, after the Maroon Tide took the lead off a three run extra base hit.
Finally, Woodcock hit a walk-off single that brought in West Harrison Senior Clifford Hooper to beat Picayune 10-9.
Five Hurricanes had multiple hits, as West Harrison finished with 13.
Ochoa threw 6 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs, but only gave up one walk and earned the victory for West Harrison.
The next game is later against Harrison Central before playing at Gautier on Tuesday.