Cougars’ four-run sixth sinks Adams Christian in series final

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2005

MAGEE &045; Angry wouldn’t be the term you’d use to describe Simpson Academy following its Game 2 loss to Adams Christian in 10-run-rule fashion.

Try astonished. Or a little shell-shocked.

The Cougars had to take a breath following that 15-5 loss to the Rebels in Game 2 that forced the winner-take-all Game 3. And the Cougars still had to shake off a team that wanted the hardware just as bad as they did, but they got a rally late to put away the Rebels and take a 9-4 win for the state title.

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The crown was their second straight. They swept Kirk Academy in the championship series last year.

&uot;It was tougher this year than last year,&uot; Ole Miss signee Cullen Kight said. &uot;Adams is a good team. We were pumped up for Game 3. We had never been 10-run-ruled before. We just came out ready to win today. We were ready to win it in the third game, and we had to take care of business out here.&uot;

The Cougars had the lead the entire game but were on the verge of letting it slip away in the middle innings as the Rebels trimmed the lead to 5-4 in the fifth. That’s when both teams brought back their aces from Game 1 &045; Simpson with Kight and Adams with Timmy Foster &045; to battle to the end.

Kight, however, did the damage with a huge two-run double in the sixth as the Cougars scored four runs for a sizeable cushion heading into the Rebels’ last at-bat.

&uot;I always say going into any series that it is a three-game series,&uot; Simpson head coach Neill Bartling said. &uot;Whatever they beat us by &045; one, 10, 20 or whatever &045; it meant it was a tie in the series. We were pleased we were able to come back home. We had a lot of confidence.

&uot;But that’s the thing about we talked about the other day &045; any time you win a championship, it’s not supposed to be easy. Going to three games against a tough Adams team, it made it that much more special to us right now.&uot;

The Rebels had their ace on the mound in the position they wanted trailing by one run and having plenty of momentum on their side, but things didn’t go their way in the sixth while they held tight to that one-run deficit.

With two runners on base, Dane Orders dropped down a bunt back to the mound, but Chess Thornton beat Foster’s throw to third on a force out attempt to load the bases with no outs for Kight.

Foster worked the count 1-2 on the Cougars’ three-hole hitter, but Kight launched one over David Trisler’s head in right for a double to score Thornton and Shannon Steed and start the rally.

&uot;We went away, which is the book (on Kight),&uot; Adams head coach Gill Morris said. &uot;We tried to pitch by the book this whole series. He’s a big guy and strong, and he went out there, got it, put the ball on the barrel of the bat and hit it to right field. It wasn’t like it was a bad pitch.&uot;

The shot opened the door for more damage off Foster, who was losing velocity on his fastball having pitched a complete game in Game 1 of the series. Justin Priest followed with a single to score Orders, and Ben Maddox’s flyout to right was just deep enough to score Kight from third on a sacrifice for the 9-4 lead.

&uot;We held them to four runs, and that inning we just broke it open,&uot; Kight said. &uot;I just think we got ready to break it open and win the game. I had two strikes, and I was looking to put it in play. I just got a good lick on it.&uot;

The result was different for the Cougars against Foster, who got out of a jam in the fourth in relief of Matt Barnes. The fastball was moving, and Foster got Kight and Priest to strike out and end the inning with Steed left on third and Orders on second.

Foster held the Cougars scoreless in the fifth after the Rebels pecked away for two in the top half and seemed to grab the momentum.

&uot;Two days rest,&uot; Morris said. &uot;I asked Timmy and called him over. He kept giving me the thumbs up. I’m not going to risk a kid’s arm. Certainly, he tired toward the end. He had some pop and threw a good game. Once they got the momentum, they about took it to us. They put four runs on the board, and we couldn’t answer.&uot;

The Rebels went down in order in the seventh against Kight, but the big right-hander escaped damage in the sixth after Dustin Case led off with a single. Cole Bradford moved him over with a sacrifice bunt to bring up Foster and David Trisler, but Foster went down swinging and Trisler grounded out hard back to the mound to end the inning.

The Rebels got two in the fifth off Kight, although both runs were charged to starter Ben Maddox. Bradford and Foster led off with singles, and Bartling promptly brought in Kight.

Jamie Morris singled in Bradford, and Brian Smith brought home Luke Brumfield on a sacrifice fly that cut the lead to 5-4.