April 26, 2009
MABEN -- Tanner Roberson, of the East Webster High School baseball team, didn''t need nine lives Saturday afternoon.
Two of them turned out to be very beneficial, however.
Roberson''s good fortune began an offensive outbreak for East Webster as the Wolverines defeated the Bogue Chitto Bobcats 14-4 in six innings to clinch the second round Mississippi High School Association South Class A playoff series. East Webster (27-3) won the first game 17-2 Thursday.
After the Wolverines fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, Roberson was the leadoff hitter in the second.
The first bit of good luck came for Roberson when he hit a popup in foul territory and the ball was dropped and then he made the most of the second chance by hitting a double.
Following Roberson''s double, Jermaine Liggins was hit by a pitch and Hayden Hendrix walked to load the bases.
East Webster took advantage of another Bogue Chitto miscue when Taylor Williams popped up and the umpire called for the infield fly rule. Again, the pop up was dropped by the Bobcats and Roberson raced home with the first run in the game.
It was the breakthrough that Roberson and the Wolverines needed.
"We came out flat and really slow," Roberson said. "We picked it up and really opened it up to score some runs. We ended up playing pretty well."
East Webster took a 2-1 lead in the inning when Liggins crossed the plate on the back end of a double steal, then the Wolverines scored two more runs in the third on a two-run single by Christopher Gordon.
The Wolverines increased their advantage to 8-1 with a four-run fourth, helped by a two-run home run by Blake Love.
"I was battling a little bit," Love said. "I finally got something I could hit and I drove it out of the park."
Love''s blast was the first of two homers for East Webster as Liggins also hit a two-run shot in a three-run fourth.
The Wolverines ended the game by scoring three runs in the sixth. Ironically, Roberson scored the 14th and final run when Liggins hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
East Webster coach Wes Johnson liked the run-production, but would have preferred to see it sooner.
"When you win big in the first game, it''s hard to keep the kids focused," Johnson said. "We swung the bats pretty well in the middle of the game."
Roberson had two doubles and a single to lead the Wolverine''s 11-hit attack, while Gordon had a single and double, Love had a single to go with his homer, and Reggie O''Briant and Cody Silver had one double each.
Love was the starting pitcher and worked the first five innings. He had six strikeouts, but walked two batters in the first, one in the fifth and two of them led to runs.
"It was pretty hot out there and I figured I lost control a little bit," Love said. "The offense is providing some support for us. We have just got to throw strikes."
East Webster plays Stringer in the third round with the series beginning Friday on the road.
The Wolverines don''t anticipate being able to score 31 runs in two games like they did against Bogue Chitto, but would like to see the hits keep on coming.
"The offense has been doing well since the playoffs started," Liggins said. "We''re hoping to get better."
1. MUW joins United States Collegiate Athletic Association COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Local academy baseball players earn all-state honors HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS