SILO - The Colbert Leopards have earned a re-match with Rattan at 1 p.m. today following a split in Thursday regional action.
A win today propels the Leopards into next week’s state tournament, while a loss ends the season. The game will be held in Silo.
Colbert lost to Rattan 5-4 on Thursday and followed the game with a nail-biting 3-2 nightcap over Highway 69 rival Calera.
Tanner Lyday and Chris Roberts took turns on the mound for Colbert in the first game. A.J. Davis got a complete-game win on the mound for Rattan.
The Leopards held a 4-2 lead until a fifth inning rally for the rams led to three runs crossing the plate. Davis struck out five of the final seven Leopard batters to snuff out rally opportunities.
The loss pushed Colbert into a must-win game against Calera, who fell to Silo 10-3. Roberts got the start for the Leopards striking out 10 before Kason Krob closed in the seventh.
Connor Hamilton threw for Calera, collecting a dozen K’s despite giving up three runs.
Colbert jumped out early with a pair of first inning runs. Zach Lovelace drew a walk and eventually scored, while courtesy runner Jared Tucker stole home on a passed ball.
The 2-0 lead lasted until the sixth inning, when Ethan Williams singled and scored on Keller Cummins’s triple for a badly needed insurance run for the Leopards.
Hamilton led off the Bulldog sixth with a single and stole his way to third. Dakota Hodge hit an RBI single scoring Hamilton but the rally was cut short when he was picked off near second.
Calera wasn’t done in the seventh: Braxton Barton and Shawn Harper hit back-to-back singles, with Harper’s scoring Braxton to cut the Colbert lead to 3-2.
Krob was brought in to pitch and he struck out Jesse Collett of the Bulldogs for the first out. Pinch hitter Lucas Wright laid down a sac bunt to get Harper into scoring position at second with two outs.
And it all came down to Krob on the mound versus Connor Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton looked at a strike, took a pitch high, then swung at an offering to fall behind 1-and-2. He fouled off, looked at another ball, then got rung up on an inside fastball which caught the corner and ended the game.
“We looked at too many pitches today,” said Calera Coach Rickey Teafatiller. “Our mentality has got to get better. We have to get over the hump and win these big games. But their kids threw well. And this is good for us, I think we have a lot to look forward to in the spring.”