McClure's walk-off hit gives Spokane win over Seymour
By Scott Vanscoy
Seymour, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Taylor McClure hit a walk-off single to give No 1 seed Spokane a 1-0 win over upset-minded No. 5 Seymour in the Class 2 District 11 semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
It was a classic pitching matchup between Spokane senior Salvador Haro and Seymour junior Colin Piatt. Piatt used his defense to keep Spokane from scoring, where Haro used his off-speed pitches to strike out ten through six innings.
In the top of the sixth inning, Seymour would put two batters on with two outs when Haro walked his only two batters of the game. Piatt then hit a single to load the bases. It was then that Spokane head coach Chad Yates decided to bring in his ace, Jimmy Cooper, to close the game.
Cooper would get Ceejay Yates to hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Justin Langston. Langston fielded the ball and stepped on the bag to end the inning.
“Luckily, Jimmy was ready to go and shut them down that next inning and got us ready to hit,” said Yates. “I had planned on maybe closing with him today if it was close, maybe an inning. Sal did unbelievable for us, allowing no runs. He didn’t have any walks and he had only thrown six balls going into the sixth inning. He was dealing, he was moving the ball in and out, and was throwing his off speed. Such a big senior stepping up in the game when we really needed it.”
With both pitchers throwing up zeros on the scoreboard and keeping hitters off balance, runs were at a premium. Every walk and every fielding play became more important as the game went on.
Spokane, in the bottom of the sixth, would load the bases with one out but failed to score. Tiger third baseman Landon Bell would make an outstanding play to end the inning.
“It was big when we had bases loaded and didn’t score,” said Yates. “I told my guys as they were coming back on the field to try and stay the course. The one good thing about it was I knew we had the top of the order coming up. We had been on base all day and I knew it was just a matter of time before we scratched one across, but that was a huge jam that they got out of and they got a little bit of a momentum swing.”
“A couple innings I got myself out of some jams but the team really helped me through it,” said Piatt. “After getting out of the sixth inning, I was pumped, I was really pumped. I just went out there and pitched my game and I knew it would work itself out.”
“The game plan was to attack, get one off-speed pitch over for a strike, and Piatt did a really good job of that,” said Seymour head coach Phillip Davolt. “He was around the zone, he worked ahead very well in the first four or five innings, ran into a couple tough spots but he‘s been in those spots before. He worked out of some tough spots all day and really showed a lot of guts in his performance. We made some good plays today. We could have made a couple more but we were pretty clean defensively. Our guys have really worked hard at our defense and it has improved. That’s something we emphasize.”
“I pitched great,” said Haro. “I knew what I had to do and that was throw strikes and get outs and I did that. My game plan was to throw first pitch strikes, go at them, attack them the whole game and not fall behind. Our bats didn’t wake up until the last inning, but we stuck through it and battled. The walk-off win felt amazing. It’s happened twice in my high school career and I wouldn’t have picked a better time for one except for maybe the championship game.”
“Both pitchers were throwing very well, keeping guys off balance,” said Yates. “Our hitters came out and were a little bit tight from the start but they stayed with it and found a way to get it done. We had five hits and we had several guys on base but we couldn’t get the one big hit and that’s what we were hoping for. This time of year that one big hit goes a long way. McClure gave us that big hit.”
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