HED:Saltillo falls to Caledonia in extra innings, 8-5
By Todd Vinyard
SALTILLO - Saltillo must pull another comeback if it hopes to keep its season going.
The Tigers, who came back from a 1-7 start to win the Division 1-3A championship, find themselves down 1-0 in the best-of-three North Mississippi Class 3A playoffs after a 8-5 extra-inning loss Thursday to Caledonia.
"We've had to come back before, and now we have to do it again," Saltillo coach Johnny Bolen said. "We knew coming in that Caledonia is a good team. We made some defensive plays to keep us in the game, and then Caledonia hit the ball well late."
Caledonia (21-11) scored four runs in the eighth inning to rally past Saltillo (18-12). Junior Stanley House delivered the key blow with a single up the middle to score Stephen Weathers and Lance Dawkins. House scored on Robert Ellis' double.
"It was a typical playoff game between Caledonia and Saltillo," Caledonia coach Rusty Greene said. "Last year, Saltillo beat us 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning to put us out in the second round of the playoffs. Tonight we got it done."
No one did more than House. Besides his eighth-inning single, after an intentional walk, House pitched six plus innings of relief to give the Confederates a chance.
"I thought the turning point was when we had the bases loaded and one out (in the second inning), and came away without any runs," Bolen said.
House held Saltillo in check by ditching his junk pitches in favor of a 81 mph fastball.
Saltillo made House sweat with an eighth-inning rally. Derrick Scott led off the inning with a double. He scored when Nathan Murff reached on a throwing error by Caledonia's Chris Wright. House then got Tiger third baseman Derrick Darby to bounce out to Wright for the third out.
Saltillo went up 3-0 in the second thanks to Mitch Bailey's two-run homer. Scott doubled and scored for the Tigers, before House entered to end the threat.
The Confederates closed the gap to 3-2 when Wright and Randy Finch scored with the help of a Saltillo error.
Andy Dillard put the Tigers up 4-2 with a fifth-inning first-pitch homer. Dillard pitched into the eighth, but Caledonia tied the score 4-4 in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Dawkins and Weathers. Saltillo's defense kept things from getting worse.
Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Caledonia.
Caledonia 8, Saltillo 5
Caledonia 002 002 04 - 8 12 2
Saltillo 030 010 01 - 5 8 1
WP - Stanley House. LP - Andy Dillard (8-4). Multiple Hits - (C) Jeremiah Blackston 3, Lance Dawkins, Stephen Weathers 3, Robert Ellis, (S) Nathan Murff, Derrick Scott; 2B - (C) Randy Finch, Dawkins 2, Weathers, Ellis, (S) Daniel Shafer, Scott 2; HR - (S) Mitch Bailey, Dillard.
Records: Caledonia 21-10, Saltillo 18-12.
Notes: Davis O'Neal will start Saturday for Saltillo. ... The two teams meet Saturday at Caledonia.