E.A. Sports Today

True grit

Graham scores on wild pitch in seventh as Ohatchee stages late rally to edge Ashville
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OHATCHEE – The hardest thing for a base runner to do is read a ball in the dirt at home plate. If there’s a wall at the base of the backstop it makes it an even riskier dash if the ball somehow gets away.
Baylee Graham has been running bases for Ohatchee his entire career. It helps, too, the Indians spend a good amount of time practicing what happens when a ball gets away from or through the catcher.
Those lessons paid big dividends Wednesday as Graham raced home from third on a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give the Indians a needed 4-3 victory over Ashville. 
“It is hard to read that,” Graham said. “If it gets past him, the first instinct is to go, but then you have to think if it hits the wall it might come back real hard, (or) it might stay. He missed it and it started rolling and didn’t get all the way to the wall, I had to get in.
“This means a lot. We needed it. It’s always good to come up with a win. It means a lot to everybody here.”
Graham reached in the seventh when Ashville third baseman Chris Sanders made a great diving stop on the Indians infielder’s hot shot and had enough wits to run down Konnor Baswell at second. Graham made it to second on a bad pickoff attempt and got to third on another pitch that got away at the plate.
“Being a senior, he’s done it a long time; he does a good job running bases for us,” Ohatchee coach Blake Jennings said. “We work base running 20 minutes every day, so that’s part of it, but him being a senior and being one of the best leaders on our team I expected it out of him right there.”
Larry Noah started on the mound for the Indians and pitched four shutout innings, getting out of jams in three of them. Left fielder Domonique Thomas saved him a run in the third by gunning down Kolby Armstrong at the plate to keep the game scoreless. The win went to second reliever Blake Ogle.
The Indians (2-2) didn’t play well the night before against Ranburne and continue to have trouble at the plate against the Bulldogs, striking out 14 times against Ashville starter Sanders. But they did take a 2-0 lead in the third when Noah’s single-and-error scored two runs before he got thrown out at second.
Ashville scored three in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, but Ohatchee tied it in the sixth on Devin Howell’s RBI single before finding a way to win it in the seventh.
“These kids are showing grit,” Jennings said. “We talked about that all year; you know, pretty versus gritty. We want to show grit. and we showed it there. The kids are tough and that’s what we’re asking of them.
“Last night was one of those things, I don’t know if the cold got to it or what, but it was one of those games. You get one every year and let’s hope we got it out of the way.”
Ohatchee 4, Ashville 3
Ashville                 000 003 0 – 3 6 2
Ohatchee               002 001 1 – 4 4 3
WP: Ogle. LP: Bradley. 2B: Baswell (O).

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