SMYRNA – Enough runners circled the bases during Lipscomb’s game against Knoxville Catholic that it was understandable folks finally lost track of one.
An unusual and unlikely sequence of events in the bottom of the sixth led to an extended meeting between the three umpires and prematurely ended what looked to be a Mustangs’ rally – not to mention their best chance to take the lead. Ultimately they fell 10-9 in a TSSAA Championship Class AA baseball second-round contest and were relegated to a 6 p.m. elimination game against Dyersburg.
Lipscomb (28-8) gave up four runs in the top of the first and trailed the entire way. It scored in five of its seven at-bats, though, and trailed by no more than two at the end of any inning.
“We’d been behind the whole time, you felt like if we ever did get the lead … you never knew,” Lipscomb coach Ernie Smith said. “I really felt like we were going to get it. That was the tough part there.”
The Mustangs were down two (10-8) after the top of the sixth but had the tying runs on base (first and second) with one out following an error and a single.
That’s when senior left fielder Hunter Williams hit a ground ball to the pitcher, who threw to second for a force of courtesy runner Michael Mascolo. The subsequent throw to first was off the mark and designated hitter Chris Saunders, who started at second, scored.
Williams went to second on the throwing error and continued toward third until it appeared two Lipscomb runners were destined to end up there. As Williams retreated toward second, Knoxville Catholic’s infielders set up a rundown between third and home for the other, who it turned out was Mascolo.
It wasn’t long after Mascolo, who broke for the plate, was tagged and time was called that people realized things did not add up.
The umpires eventually ruled runner’s interference because Mascolo remained in the play. Williams was called out and the inning was finished.
Neither team scored in the seventh, which was the only time the entire game that was the case.
“I don’t know what was right, to be honest,” Smith said. “That was a crazy play. I don’t know how you can call runner interference, though, if he was already out.
“Ultimately, that didn’t cause us to lose the game.”
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