CORINTH – For the third time in four rounds Ripley dropped the opening game of the series. The other two times the Tigers were able to claw themselves out of the hole to advance.
This time was different.
Corinth used a 2-RBI single by Kerrigan Maness in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Warriors to take Game 2 and to clinch the series over the Tigers.
The dramatics for this game was at an all-time high. In what was a classic pitching duel between Ripley's Jus Medlin and Corinth's Jackson Lancaster, neither team could pull away from each other.
The Warriors plated a run in the bottom of the first but that would be the only run scored by either team until the wild seventh inning.
In the top half of the seventh inning, Reece Moore lead off with a single. Corinth then pulled Lancaster and brought in Maness on the mound. Later, Mason McBride and Cooper Cox hit back-to-back singles loading the bases for Jus Medlin. Just the night before Medlin had came through for the Tigers with a solo home-run to tie the game in the seventh and the senior slugger provided once again with a 3-RBI double taking the lead from the Warriors.
The bottom half of the seventh spelled the Tiger's fate.
Corinth's Baylor Frazier connected on a lead-off single to start the rally. Two wild-pitches and a walk later had runners on the corners with no outs. Next, an errant throw on a pick-off move sailed to the fence scoring Frazier and placing the tying run at second before another walk placed the winning run on first. Corinth executed a perfect bunt single to load the bases for their best hitter, Maness, whose base hit sends Corinth to the state title series.
"Corinth played up to the level that we thought they would be at," said Coach Joel Gafford. " Coach Scarbrough has been a role model in my life and I knew he'd have his team ready to play."
Ripley's exit in the playoffs does not discount what the Tigers have accomplished this season.
The Tigers finish their season 26-7 and became the back-to-back Div. 2-4A champions.
Not only did Ripley have great success this season but the future looks like the Tigers may have another shot at reaching the state title series next season.
Ripley will graduate just two seniors in Jus Medlin and Cooper Cox from this year's team. While both Medlin and Cox were very important to this year's team success, Ripley will return seven starters and the opportunity will be there for an underclassmen to rise up and 'fill the shoes' of what these two seniors leave behind.
"I couldn't be prouder of this group," said Gafford. "We were never out of any game all year because of our fight and our unity. I'd take this bunch anywhere. I love these boys."