Tide wins 1-0 in 11

Published 2:41 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

It was a classic example of the old sports adage it’s a shame somebody had to lose.

Fortunately for Picayune, somebody finally did.

Picayune’s Evan Nichelson drove in Hunter Gill with the only run of the game with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning, as the homestanding Maroon Tide pulled out a 1-0 win over visiting Vancleave in the Class 4A South State quarterfinals Thursday night.

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The win moves the 10th ranked Maroon Tide to 19-3 on the year, and Picayune can close out the best of three series tonight with a win at Vancleave.

The Bulldogs, which fell to 17-10, host Picayune at 6 p.m.

“We just found a way, and that’s kind of our moto,” Picayune head coach Cayne Stockstill said. “We have to find a way or make something happen and we’ve been able to do that most of the year.”

The contest was a classic pitcher’s duel for most of the game between Picayune’s Jared Bales and Vancleave’s Anthony Izzio. Bales went almost the full 11 frames and Izzio went 10, but neither were involved in the decision.

Bales scattered seven hits and Izzio six. Jonathan Hickman replaced Bales with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the 11th, and ended the Vancleave threat.

Sean Hodges replaced Izzio in the bottom of the frame, and Gill tripled past the Bulldog rightfielder and Nichelson pushed a ball towards second that the Vancleave infielder couldn’t come make a play on to tally the run.

“Our crowd really got behind us in the last inning and we used that energy to propel us,” Stockstill added.

The Maroon Tide is expected to send unbeaten ace Bryce Ladner to the mound tonight in hopes of ending the series. A third game, if needed, would take place back in Picayune Saturday at 1 p.m.