SPHS Pirates handed a forfeit from TSSAA and then drop a second game by one point

South Pittsburg, Tenn. – In a rare exhibition of the enforcement of the pitch count restrictions in place by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), the South Pittsburg Pirate were issued a forfeit in a matchup against the East Robertson Indians after the Indian’s coaching staff adamantly required a decision from the officiating staff on the one pitch, final strike violation in the top of the final inning of regulation. TSSAA regulations restrict pitchers to no more than 120 game pitches a day. Pirate pitcher Kam Wellington was allowed to issue the dreaded 121st pitch to sit the Indians’ final batter down in the top of the seventh inning of a game that was tied 1-1 but was ultimately granted a 2-0 victory to the Indians according to TSSAA website.

Kam Wellington (#1) celebrates his tying homerun with teammate Luke Rector (#8) coming back across home plate – Marion County News

Leading up to the forfeit demand, as the score dictates, the teams were very well matched. The Pirates traded straight 1-2-3 innings with the Indians in the first and second innings of the game. In the top of the third, Wellington issues a one-out walk to East Robertson’s Cade Brooks. Brooks would steal second and steal third and ultimately cross the plate on a wild pitch to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, the Pirates would also start feeling out the pitching atmosphere as Britton Case would wait out a full-count walk, and then Coy Hackney would follow that up with a four-pitch walk for runners on first and second. Unfortunately, the Pirates weren’t able to convert those runners into points as two batters in a row would pop hits up for relatively easy grabs for the Indians’ fielders.

The Indians would again threaten in the top of the fourth with a leadoff double and a steal of third base. However, the Pirates were able to execute the ground-out plays as well as catch the runner looking to score on a dropped third strike. The Pirates would threaten as well in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out hit-by-pitch runner on first by Luke Rector and a two-out, full-count-plus battle of a walk by Jake McGullion, but the Pirates were forced to leave the two runners stranded. The Indians would load the bases in the top of the sixth but were equally unsuccessful in converting any more points. In the bottom of the sixth, Pirate pitcher Wellington steps to the plate and launches a full-count monster homerun over the centerfield wall to tie the game at 1-1. Apparently stoked by his own offense, Wellington stepped to the mound and delivered three straight strikeouts in the top of the seventh. However, the final strike would be found to be the 121st pitch of Wellington’s day, relegating the Pirates to a loss on a technicality.

Regardless of the outcome of the first game, the bracket to state title mandated that the teams would face each other twice. The Pirates, apparently motivated by

Pirate catcher Britton Case applies the tag on what many Indian fans felt like was a run scored; photos tell a different story – Marion County News

the technicality loss, were quicker to find their batting mojo in the second game as Jayden Mount stretched a double and scored Jace Stone, who walked and stole second to lead off for the Pirates. Wellington relished the opportunity to exploit a sacrifice bunt into a double, scoring Mount. All with no outs. Luke Rector and Zach Tierney would hit the sacrifice grounders to score Wellington, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead in the top of the first in the second game. The teams would trade the occasional stranded runner through the top of the third inning.

Wellington would launch a one-out double over the East Robertson first baseman only to have subsequent batter Luke Rector double to the opposite outfield to score Wellington again for the 4-0 lead. The Indians would manage to cross the plate one time in the bottom of the third to close the gap 4-1; however, the Indians would also execute a textbook 6-4-3 fielding double play to end the Pirates’ fledgling top of the fourth. The Pirates would give up a couple of baserunners in the bottom of the fourth to the Indians but would recover and leave the Indians with stranded runners to hold the lead. Wellington would hit a lead-off triple for the fifth inning, and Kody Summers followed right behind and runs out a single out of what should have been a sacrifice grounder to score Wellington for the 5-1 lead. SPHS’s Bailey Fults delivered a two-out grounder to score courtesy runner J Durham for a 6-1 lead going to the bottom of the fifth.

Pirate Brett Mashburn (#14) dives back to first as the Indians attempt the pick off – Marion County News

The rails began to shake a bit for the Pirates as the Indians led off with back-to-back walks and then capitalized on a sacrifice pop fly to score one closing the gap to 6-2. An immediate double scored another, and then a two-out shot to the outfield scored another to draw the Indians within two 6-4. However, a three-run homerun would move the Indians into the lead 7-6 going into the sixth. The Pirates would add their own home run in the sixth with a two-run shot from Jayden Mount to take the lead again, 8-7. Giving up one walk, the Pirates would keep the Indians off the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth but were not able to add any insurance runs in the top of the seventh. The Indians would lead off the bottom of the final inning with a batter hit-by-pitch. And then a one-out ground ball that turns into double scores the lead runner to tie it up 8-8. A wild pitch positions the runner on third base and a sacrifice pop fly scores that runner negating any further play and giving the Indians their second win of the day 9-8.

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