It’s rare that Tripp McKinley is not on his stuff at the start of a game and with area games finally counting, being off could spell disaster for any team.
Reeltown entered the game on a wave of momentum. The Rebels blasted through Beulah for three area wins and a showdown between Dadeville and Reeltown meant that one team could very well find their season over early.
Dadeville came out on top of the Rebels 5-2 in the game through some timely hitting and solid pitching.
“Heck of a team right there, they were battling,” Dadeville coach Curtis Martin said of Reeltown. “I’m proud of the gutsy and gritty performance we had. I know a lot of things didn’t go our way offensively, on the mound, but we had guys step up and pick each other up. It was a great team win. I’m proud. We had guys who we normally don’t count on offensively who stepped up today.”
Will Brooks was on the mound for the Rebels and McKinley toed the rubber for the Tigers.
Neither pitcher had a stellar start. Both programs started the first inning with two runs scoring. Dadeville struck first with a few hits on Brooks but the Rebels tied the game back up in the bottom half of the inning.
Ethan Adcox and Caleb Bice were the first two batters to drive in runs for the Tigers. Logan Lee and a rare balk by McKinley on the mound brought in the second run of the inning for the Rebels. The deadlock remained at 2-2.
In the third inning, McKinley reached base first via a walk and Bice drove in courtesy runner Ruskin Gold to push the Tigers ahead 3-2.
However, it was apparent that McKinley was getting back into his groove on the mound. The familiar pop of the catcher’s mitt returned and Dadeville’s fans went from trying to keep their star calm in the first inning to cheering him on with each pitch.
Even so, the Rebels were able to get on base either through close pitches or forcing McKinley to their slowed pace. Combatting that, McKinley gave little time to set up in the box with a quickened pace.
The Rebels had a few chances with runners reaching base in the next two innings but they failed to bring anyone home.
Dadeville managed to engineer some insurance in the top of the sixth inning. Jordan Rambo doubled to left and Brooks walked Robinson and Walker Spraggins to load the bases.
Adcox wasn’t as relied upon for his bat early in the season, but a clutch hit to left squirted past the shortstop and into the outfield to plate the final two runs of the game. Ultimately, it gave Adcox three RBIs on the night and Spraggins was able to close the game out getting the final four outs of the contest in relief of McKinley.
Adcox went 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and Bice was the other big stick, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. McKinley also struck out 14 over his six innings of work.
“Adcox, he had three hits – heck of a performance. Rambo he came in 3-2 and he hits it down the left field line and we score two that inning,” Martin said. “Those are two guys that we normally don’t rely on and they came up big today and helped us win the ball game.”
On the other side, Reeltown had chances to score but things stalled out.
Reeltown coach Trey Chambers says that it’s not a problem in the future for his squad.
“It’s something we’ve worked on in practice, we try to hone in on bases loaded, one out or less situations,” Chambers said. “Anytime we can load the bases is a plus. Anytime we don’t get anybody in it’s not very good. Hats off to their pitcher. He did a great job of getting out of it.”