from school reports
The Meridian Star
Down a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the tying run standing on second base, West Lauderdale's Will Stokes stepped up to the plate ––Jerry Boatner Field was rocking.
Two pitches later, as Stokes lined out to first base to end the game, no one said a word.
St. Stanislaus took down West Lauderdale in Game 3 of the South State semifinals, holding the Knights to four hits in a 3-2 victory. The win earns the Rock-A-Chaws a trip to the South State Championship tonight, where they will play host to Newton County for Game 1 at 6 p.m.
“I don't know what to say,” West Lauderdale head coach Jerry Boatner said. “When the season's over and you get beat, there isn't much to say. We just didn't get the job done. Reed Michel did a great job on the mound, but you aren't going to beat very many teams on just four hits.”
The Knights had a solid opportunity to tie the game down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, as Mason Wooldridge led off the inning by reaching on a hit-by-pitch. Following a fly out to left, Chase McLellan singled to right to put runners on the corners for senior Kevin Lee Henson. Henson would then ground out to second, but not before bringing home a run and moving the tying run to second base.
However, that's as far as the Knights would get.
Stokes sliced a tailing line drive to first base, and St. Stanislaus first baseman Irby Dossett snared the ball before letting it hit the ground to end the game and the Knights' season.
“We just didn't hit the ball tonight,” Boatner said. “Our big hitters had the opportunity to produce, and we just couldn't produce. It hurts when that happens.”
Sophomore pitcher Reed Michel earned the loss despite pitching five innings and only giving up three runs on six hits. Two of those hit were solo home runs, as St. Stanislaus began second and fourth innings with blasts from Destin Aime and Noah Nicaud. Colton McKeithen relieved Michel with a runner on first and no outs in the top of the sixth and battled through a bases-loaded jam later in the inning to keep the score at 3-1. McKeithen went two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
McKeithen also led the Knights at the plate, delivering a two-out RBI double to center to give West Lauderdale a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Despite having what many across the state considered to be the most talented 4A team in the state, Boatner and the Knights will now start what is sure to be a long off season. However, with only two seniors moving on from this year's team, Boatner said the Knights will look to build from this loss for next year.
“It hurt, because I thought we were going to win a state championship,” Boatner said. “We didn't play to our potential, and it's my fault. When you lose, it's always the coaches fault. I'm disappointed in how it ended. I really thought we were going to win it there right at the end. We just didn't get the breaks.”