Pine captures thrilling district opener

Published 7:21 am Friday, April 1, 2016

SLIDELL — Pine opened up District 10-2A play Tuesday with a 5-4 victory over Pope John Paul II in game where using words like thrilling, incredible and exciting would still come up short in describing how great this game really was.

The game came down to clutch hitting, an unbelievable effort to score the tying run, alert base running to tally the go-ahead run and a pitcher getting out of a jam with the tying and winning runs in scoring position with one out in the seventh. And all of this occurred in the seventh.

Pine got down twice and trailed 4-3 through six innings, but the Raiders rallied with one out in the seventh.

Dillon Morris, who reached on a fielder’s choice, was on first base when Jamie Adcox came to the plate. Adcox got hold of a pitch and drove it to right field and up against the wall. Morris raced around the bases. The relay-throw to the plate one-hopped its way to the catcher. The catcher appeared to try and field the ball and tag Morris at the same time. He stopped the ball, but could not field it cleanly. Morris and the ball were arriving at about the same time. Morris leaped over the catcher’s outstretched arm. When he landed, he had not yet touched the plate. Morris then touched the plate to tie the game at 4-4. While all of this was going on, Adcox was running. He had never stopped and went to third on the throw home.

“My teammate got on base,” Adcox said. “I knew we were down. We just needed a hit. I saw a good outside pitch and I just swung and it went.”

With Adcox on third, representing the go-ahead run, the Jaguars brought the infield in. Connor Holmes, who drove in two runs, hit a grounder to second. The fielder looked Adcox back to third, but as he threw it to first to retire Holmes, Adcox took off for the plate. Adcox beat the peg and Pine had the lead, 5-4.

“I knew they were going to look me back,” Adcox said. “When they looked me back, I knew he wasn’t going to check twice. So he checked once and I took off. My brother Connor Holmes came through.”

It was 5-4 as the teams played the bottom of the seventh, but nothing was easy on this night.

Reese Satterlee began the seventh with a walk before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Castillo. Sean Price singled to center, moving Satterlee to third. Price stole second, setting up runners at second-and-third with one out.

Satterlee represented the tying run and Price represented the winning run.

But Morris, who took the mound during the sixth, came through under pressure and struck out the next two hitters to end the ball game, as Pine was victorious, 5-4.

“We overcame a lot of adversity,” Pine coach Blake Dillon said. “We had a few more errors than we’re usually accustomed to. We got down a couple of times in the game. The kids just kept fighting back. I told them, ‘You want to win a district championship, you’re going to have to fight back in games when you get behind,’ and they did exactly what I wanted them to do. They showed heart. They’ve done everything I’ve ever asked them to and they played ball tonight. They did the best they could do. It was a great game, exciting game. We got good starting pitching (Rion Terrell). We got great relief pitching (Morris). We got some timely hits.”

The Jaguars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Joe Riggio reached on an error and Tyler Blakeman singled. Riggio scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0 and Blakeman tallied on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead through two innings.

Pine tied the game in the third. Terrell, who had two hits, singled to lead off. With one out, Adcox, who posted two hits and scored two runs, singled courtesy runner Hayden Fersch to third. Fersch scored on Holmes’ RBI groundout, trimming the lead to 2-1. After Ethan Knight walked, Trey Cooper, who recorded three hits, including a double, plated Adcox with the tying run.

The game remained tied, 2-2, until the sixth, as the action began to pick up. With one out, Cooper singled and courtesy runner Kendall Sheridan stole second before moving to third on Roach’s single. Roach stole second during Landon Fonda’s at bat. Fonda hit a sacrifice fly, sending Sheridan home, giving Pine a 3-2 advantage.

The Jaguars came back with two in their half of the sixth.

With one out, Anthony Chappetta walked. Taylor Thies hit a flyball to the outfield. The left fielder and centerfielder appeared to have a miscommunication and the ball was dropped. Chappetta eventually scored on a wild pitch and a safety squeeze by Justin Loga plated Thies, giving PJP a 4-3 lead.

But Pine came back, tied the game, took the lead and held on for the victory.

Pine improved to 13-2 this season.

The loss put PJP at 2-12.