By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
May 8, 2013 — With the No. 1 seed in the 62nd District Tournament wrapped up, East Carter and Morgan County were playing for pride and the jersey.
Last Wednesday, the Cougars and Raiders played a wild contest with lead changes and extra innings and the team in Blue and Gold got the last laugh.
Joey Stamper’s walkoff hit in the bottom of the ninth scored two RBIs as Morgan County defeated East Carter 7-6 in nine innings.
“We’ve just got to learn to close the door on games,” Manager Jeremiah Shearer said. “You get the lead and you have to go out there with the mentality that I’m going to throw my best stuff and they have to hit off of me.”
In the top of the seventh with Morgan leading 3-2, The Raiders rallied for a run in the bottom frame after junior catcher Austin Wells’ sacrifice fly that scored Jesse James.
In the top of the eighth, East looked to slam the door on Morgan, scoring two runs in the frame on a Zack Cathey fielder’s choice that allowed Cole Boggs to score. Conner Staton’s only hit of the game was a big one, a single to left that scored Cole Brammer to give the Raiders a 5-3 lead.
Morgan County battled in the bottom of the inning, after Larrin Collins reached on an error allowing two runs to score to force the game in to the ninth inning.
After a Wells base hit, Chandler Duncan scored as a courtesy runner on a wild pitch to give East a 6-5 lead.
But in the bottom of the ninth, Morgan took advantage of a walk and an error to give Stamper the opportunity to bring two runners home to end the ballgame.
“Pitching and defense let us down,” Shearer said. “Our pitchers didn’t go out throw strikes when they needed to. It put us in positions where runners are on base and puts pressure on the defense. …Give credit to Morgan County they battled and got a big win for them.”
The ending spoiled freshman pitcher Jordan Walburn’s performance. Walburn pitched six innings, gave up one run on five hits and eight strikeouts.
“He didn’t have his best stuff (Wednesday) but he battled out of jams,” Shearer said. “The early innings really set the tone. We didn’t do a good job with runners on base, and at times we didn’t have any approach at the plate. We’ve got to come out early and try not to flip a switch in the fifth, sixth, seventh innings.”
Shearer challenged his team at the end of the game to learn from this loss so when the postseason rolls around, they will be ready for situations like this.
“It’s not football where we have a week to mull over a loss,” Shearer said. “We have (five games left in the regular season). Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully we bounce back.”
Mackenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.