Late collapse wrests win away from Tigers

Demopolis (16-9) was on the verge of a gutsy win over American Christian Academy Thursday before a seventh inning collapse led to a 10-5 loss.

“We competed well for six innings and we didn’t close. Eight free passes in the last two innings, you’re not going to beat anybody, especially a good team,” Demopolis coach James Moody said of the late inning calamity that befell his team. “We preach to them every day, every pitch, every at-bat, every inning, every game, all of it. We couldn’t do that today. We couldn’t finish.”

ACA got a two-run homer from Deacon Medders in the first and a solo shot from Caleb Squires in the third to take a 3-0 lead before Demopolis battled back.

R.J. Cox started the two-out rally with a single before giving way to courtesy runner Andrew Patterson. Wesley Allgood drove in Patterson on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. Luke Yelverton then singled in Jacob Rodrigues to cut the deficit to 3-2. Demetrius Davis legged out an infield single to plate Jonathon Lewis to tie the game. An ACA error on the play allowed Allgood to score and put Demopolis on top 4-3.

The Tigers added to the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Jacob Rodrigues launched the first pitch he saw well beyond the center field fence for a his first homer of the year and a 5-3 Demopolis lead.

“I was proud of our effort. I was. I was proud of our effort. We’re down some kids and I thought the kids stepped in and did a good job for us and put us in position to win the ball game. That’s all we can ever ask for, regardless. I’ll take a two-run lead in the seventh any time,” Moody said. “It’s a learning experience for us. If this situation arises again, I hope that we draw from it and realize that you can’t put people on base without making them earn their way.”

Only three outs away from securing a win, the Tigers struggled to find the strike zone. A pair of walks to lead off the inning preceded a hit-by-pitch to leave the bases-loaded with nobody out. Squire then teed off on the second pitch of the at-bat to rip a grand slam and give ACA the 7-5 lead. The Patriots went on to add three runs in the frame.

“You’ve got to credit them,” Moody said. “They had a couple of big hits late and, of course, the grand slam, he did what he had to do.”