Down 2-0 after five innings to Graves County on Tuesday, it seemed Paducah Tilghman’s offense was as quiet as it was in Monday’s 7-2 loss to Caldwell County.
Then, Justin West stepped to the plate to lead off the sixth inning.
His double started the offense in Tilghman’s three-run sixth, on the way to a 3-2 win over the Eagles.
Eric Riffe followed West’s double with a single, advancing the freshman to third. An error on a pickoff play allowed West to score, putting the Blue Tornado on the board and sending Riffe to third.
Jackson Fristoe would single Riffe home two batters later, tying the game at 2. Two batters after that, Will Thompson doubled in Fristoe, capping the scoring.
“I was just trying to see a fastball early in the count,” said West, who was 2-for-3 in the No. 9 spot. “He (Graves starter Lane Howell) didn’t really throw me anything (to hit) until later in the count. I just tried to stay patient and get something, there.”
Graves got both of its runs in the bottom of the first.
Jordyn Naranjo, who led off the half inning with a single before advancing to third on a pickoff play gone wrong, scored on a wild pitch with nobody out.
Drew Cooper, who was hit on the right elbow, before stealing second base without a throw and advancing to third on the same wild pitch that scored Riffe, scored when Howell was thrown out at first base on a dropped third strike to complete the strikeout.
“In the first inning, I was a little all over the place,” said Tilghman starter Colbe Crim, who went five innings, giving up those two runs, while scattering four hits, striking out six and walking nobody. “I was getting kind of frustrated with the errors. As the game went on, I settled down and we started to execute at the plate, as well.”
To start the bottom of the sixth, Fristoe took the mound from Crim, striking out all six batters he faced.
“I felt good,” said Fristoe, who pounded the strike zone with a steady stream of fastballs. “I was locating pretty (well).”
Howell’s start – three earned runs on five hits, with three strikeouts and a walk – left the Eagles in a position to win the ballgame, said Graves County coach Andy Ford.
“I think he had 52 pitches through five innings,” Ford said. “That’s exceptional. We just didn’t come through.”