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Kossuth takes Game 1
by Brandon Speck
May 22, 2014 | 395 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PEARL – Kossuth had to play an 18-inning game en route to last year's title, the school's first.

Game 1 of this year's championship series started on a similar path.

The Aggies beat Sumrall 7-6 Wednesday in 11 innings of the opener of a Class 3A championship rematch with Sumrall.

The winning run came as Kossuth senior Zack Walker scored from first base after an errant pickoff attempt in the top of the 11th inning.

There were plenty of memorable moments, a pair of diving catches by Walker in left among them. There were plenty of errors, too. Sumrall (25-8) committed six of the game's 10.

Kossuth (22-11) had another hero, sophomore pitcher Elijah Potts, who came on in relief of Tyler Mercer to get the win, pitching 6.1 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five and improved to 7-1.

“That's the most pitches he's thrown all year,” said first-year Kossuth coach Trave Hopkins. “He's usually our sixth, seventh inning guy. I never thought he'd be our sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh. But he's had a lot of heart all year and he showed it tonight.”

Sumrall pitcher Nick Clark didn't allow a Kossuth hit until the fifth inning. The Aggies scored two in the inning to take a 3-2 lead on Mercer's two-RBI single.

The craziest sequence may have been in the seventh. Sumrall took a 4-3 lead on Clark's single, a lead that chased started Mercer.

Down 4-3 in the seventh with runners at second and third and the Sumrall infield in, Mercer's grounder to third ricocheted off Brady Hick's glove. Reed Mitchell scored from third as Jacob Wilcher alertly took third as the ball rolled toward second base. Mercer bolted to second and with the attention on him, Wilcher headed home and scored the go-ahead run for a 5-4 lead off new pitcher Drake Pace.

Mitchell had walked. After Wilcher doubled, Sumrall went to the pen, replacing Clark. Alex Knight (8-4) took the loss.

“It will drain you,” Sumrall coach Larry Knight said. “Either team who lost that one, it was going to be tough.”

With a runner on, Sumrall blew a chance in the bottom of the ninth. Matt Jones singled to right. Nikolas Wilcher's throw to third bounced past Garison Lathrop and Jared Shuck headed home. Garison's throw to catcher Hunter Swindle was on target to tag Shuck to end the inning.

Kossuth took the lead in the top of the 10th when Charlie Bonee singled and Potts reached on Sumrall's fourth error for a 6-5 lead.

Sumrall tied it in the bottom of the tenth when Trace Jordan's RBI bloop landed just fair with two outs.

“As tough as that team is over there, I really don't know if momentum plays a big factor,” Hopkins said.

Kossuth 7, Sumrall 6

Game 1 of 3A State Series

Kossuth 010 020 200 11 – 7 13 4

Sumrall 100 120 100 10 – 6 12 6

WP: Elijah Potts (7-1). LP: Alex Knight (8-4).

Multiple hits: (K) Reed Mitchell 2, Jacob Wilcher 2, Tyler Mercer 2, Charlie Bonee 2, Connar Boyer 2; (S) Drake Nightengale 3, Trace Jordan 2, Nick Clark 2. 2B: (K) Wilcher; (S) Jordan.

Records: Kossuth 22-11, Sumrall 25-8.
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