SMYRNA – Sometimes it pays to be polite.
When Lipscomb coach Ernie Smith thought the first base umpire missed a call in the bottom of the fifth, he did not storm out of his coaching box along third base. He quietly asked the appropriate questions.
His requests led to a reversal, which put Clay Fuson at first base with no one out. Three batters later Fuson scored the game-winning run as the Mustangs (28-7) opened the TSSAA Class AA baseball tournament with a 3-1 victory over Dyersburg (25-13) on Tuesday.
“I was watching (the home plate umpire), and he had a great angle on it,” Smith said. “ … I just asked him, ‘Did you get a good look?’ He said, ‘I got a good look.’
“… I thought (the umpires) did a good job working together. They told us before we started that they were going to try to work together like that.”
The play in question started with Fuson’s groundball to second base. Dyersburg’s Bryson Homer fielded the ball cleanly but slipped and had to throw from an awkward position. The throw drew first baseman Tyler Lyons off the bag. The first base umpire was screened, did not see it and initially ruled the runner out.
Only after a consultation with the home plate umpire, at the request of Smith, did he changed the call.
Fuson then moved to second on a groundout and to third on a single by Kyle Lehning. He scored on a fielder’s choice by T.J. Hoelzer.
“It was a good one,” Hoelzer said of his dribbler to first.
Hoelzer, a senior, might not have hit that one too far, but his effort as Lipscomb’s starting pitcher went a long way toward securing the victory.
He allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one in a complete-game victory, which raised his record to 6-2. The only run he allowed was on a solo home run by Lyons in the fourth.
“They were a good team,” Hoelzer said. “We executed everything we did – getting the bunts down and moving the runners over, and we had the big hits, which was key.”
They also got cooperation from the umpires when they needed it.
“It wasn’t like we were just shooting in the dark,” Smith said. “I thought there was a good chance (the first baseman’s foot) was off.”
Dyer County 8, Goodpasture 2
Cody Lane gave Goodpasture an early lead when he drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, but the Cougars gave up eight straight runs beginning in the third inning and fell in a Class AA contest.
Lance Jerreld finally got Goodpasture back on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Seven different Cougars had at least one hit led by William Harris and Shawn McVey, who had two apiece.
Dyer County, however, capitalized on a fourth-inning error for two unearned runs after it went ahead with a two-run home run in the fourth.
Brentwood Academy 4, Christian Brothers 2
Drew Floyd’s one-out home run in the fifth inning broke a tie and sent Brentwood Academy (28-6) to a 4-2 victory over Christian Brothers (33-9) in a first-round Division II-AA matchup.
Floyd, the Eagles’ starting pitcher, allowed two runs on three hits in the top of the first but did not allow another run over the next 4.2 innings. He struck out seven and waled one as he improved to 7-1.
BA tied it with one run each in the second and third innings. Floyd’s third-inning single led to the tying run, although he was not credited with an RBI. Will Blalock was on second and scored when the left fielder committed an error on Floyd’s single.
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