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From The Mean Streets Of Mound City | Tilghman

Local Sports From Eastern Missouri, The Bootheel and Beyond

By Mickey Mounds

Paducah Tilghman Is Accomplishing Something You Rarely Ever See

A rule of thumb in High School sports involves the terms “up” and “down.” Up means that a team’s most talented athletes are upperclassmen, nearing the peak of their teenage years in size, speed and power. Down means that the most promising kids are freshmen or sophomores, or that there are few seniors on the squad at all. It is difficult to muster a winning season if your program is down.

Sure, there’s a larger role for underclassmen in baseball compared to other sports. Student-athletes on the diamond are generally not getting hit, fouled, body-checked or body-slammed. Contact sports are rougher on the younger boys.

But go watch an 8th grade, frosh or JV baseball game. Do the plays seem as quick and as sharp as in a Varsity contest? The hitting as solid? The pitches as fast and mean? No? Then consider the challenge of winning – setting program records, even – while suiting up as many middle-schoolers as seniors.

Enter the Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado, whose season-opening hot streak we briefly touched on in March. The club is 16-5, working on a potentially legendary defensive pace with less than 1.5 runs-per-game allowed, and are considered a bona-fide contender for the KHSAA 1st Region championship.

You can count the number of seniors in Tilghman’s 2017 lineup on your right hand. Sparkling young talent abounds, such as 6’3″ freshman Jackson Fristoe who went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles against a strong club from Apollo High on April 15th. Led by hurlers like sophomore Josh Lang, the Tornado whips through opposing batters with a combination of fine pitching and fielding that could snag a mongoose.

What’s more, skipper Chris Johnson’s roster includes not 1, not 2, but 3 prospects from Paducah Tilghman Middle School, including 8th-grader Leyton Patterson who is muscular beyond his years at 220 lbs, but limber enough for right field.

This week, the Blue and White blanked Hickman County 10-0 (freshman pitcher Reece Hutchins getting the win), and out-lasted Caldwell County 7-2.

 

Reports Batted-In

Lafayette (10-2, 6-1 Suburban West) beat rival Eureka 11-7 in extra innings on Thursday, April 20th in a game highlighted by an extremely unconventional double play.

After the Wildcats (8-9, 3-3 Suburban West) rallied to tie the score in the 7th inning, a line drive was hit in the direction of junior Lafayette shortstop Alex Adams with only 1 out on the board. Adams caught the baseball for an out, then attempted to throw out base-runner Jacob Reinkemeyer who was leading a little too far at 1st base.

The throw went over the head of 1st baseman Jackson Bartholomew, prompting Reinkemeyer to take off for 2nd base. But Bartholomew tracked the ball down by the dugout, and made a terrific throw to a waiting Adams at 2nd for the 3rd out in what was recorded as a 3-6-E6-3-6 double play.

“I probably shouldn’t have thrown it, but I gave it a try,” said Adams. “Luckily, we made a good play on it (after the error).”

The Lafayette Lancers will host Fort Zumwalt West on Monday, May 1st.

The Hayti Indians are 3-6, and beat Scott County Central (a 2-7 team) by 1 run in a match-up of small schools from the Bootheel earlier this week.

Why is that newsworthy? Well…59 total runs were scored, that might have something to do with it.

The eye-popping 30-29 final score capped a remarkable ballgame that included 41 walks, 26 hits and 11 errors. Oddly enough, the losing hurler (Zac Slipis of SCCHS) only gave up 1 hit in the contest.

High School record books are fuzzy, but for perspective, the highest-scoring MLB game of all time only tallied 49 runs as the Cubs beat the Phillies 26-23 in a 1922 match-up. Most baseball games which have tallied 50+ total runs have been blowouts, as opposed to the nail-biting, chaotic contest at Hayti High.

 

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