The Meridian Star
Saturday’s U14 slow-pitch championship game was anything but easy for the Meridian Explosion, as they rebounded from a loss earlier in the day to beat the Columbus Raiders, 11-10, to claim gold.
After an up-and-down start which saw the Raiders jump out to a 4-0 start in the top of the first, followed by a six-run rally by Meridian in the bottom of the second, the Explosion found itself with a golden opportunity to win the game in the fifth inning.
Tied at 7-7 with time run out, Meridian placed runners on first and third with one out and Brianna Robbins at the plate.
With the Explosion’s fastest runner, Mercedez Jackson, on third base, all Robbins had to do was lift a ball in the outfield to clinch the gold.
Robbins delivered, sending a fly to left, and Jackson dashed home safely.
There was just one problem –– she forgot to tag up. Columbus then doubled up Jackson at third and the game continued.
“I had talked to Mercedez prior to the pitch being thrown and I told her we need to score on a ground ball,” Explosion head coach Joe McWilliams said. “When the ball was hit, she took off. I tried to tell her to come back, but she didn’t hear me –– she had so much momentum.”
Columbus took its own momentum in the top of the sixth and plated three runs to put Meridian at the brink of elimination, down 10-7, in the game’s final inning.
However, the Explosion had one last spark in them.
Meridian loaded the bases with no outs and the Raiders began to implode.
Three-straight walks tied the game at 10-10 before a ground ball to third set up the game-winning play for Meridian.
With the infield drawn in, Explosion pitcher Lex Hearn slapped a ball to third and Bre Grace dashed home.
Grace’s foot collided with the Raider’s catcher, causing her to drop the ball and clinching the game and Meridian the gold at 11-10.