It took about four hours, but Sumrall finally got the hit it so desperately needed Friday afternoon. Maybe all it took was a 45-minute rain/lightning delay in the 10th inning. Bobcat head coach Larry Knight didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I think it actually might’ve helped us a little bit. We had been in a lull and left guys on. It’s kind of like starting new.”
In a scoreless game in the top of the 11th inning, Garrett Robbins delivered for the Bobcats, connecting on a two-run double which gave the team a 2-0 lead on FCAHS. And in the bottom of the inning, Robbins, a Pearl River signee, sealed it on the mound, picking up the win in relief of starter Kros Sivley.
If Knight could’ve picked anyone to be the hero on this day, it probably would’ve been Robbins.
“I think he [Robbins] had struck out four times prior to that. That’s the way the game of baseball is,” Knight said. “He’s walking off this field feeling pretty dang good now.”
Even beyond Robbins, Sumrall as a whole struggled to swing the bat much of Friday’s contest. All told, the Bobcats collected just four hits—two from Dannis Jackson and one apiece from Robbins and Mason Story.
Getting runners on base was not an issue for the Bobcats, who drew 13 walks and were hit by three pitches.
“It is frustrating, because we had guys on base and opportunities,” Knight said. “With all the walks and hit batters, how does it take us that many innings to finally score? We are doing what we’ve been doing and pitching great and playing great defense. And at least finding ways to win in those type of games.”
A trio of Bobcat arms had a lot to do with that. But it all started with the aforementioned Kros Sivley, who allowed just three hits in seven innings of work. The freshman added 12 strikeouts to bring his season total to 46. But because he left the mound in a scoreless tie, Sivley didn’t qualify for the win. That’s actually been the case a few times now this season, said Knight.
“He [Sivley] really, in this game and the Purvis game, goes out there and throws up those goose eggs, and doesn’t get wins. That’s a frustrating thing, but I’m very proud of him. It’s just been automatic for him.
“From our standpoint, because we’re struggling offensively, if we didn’t have guys stepping up on the mound, we’d have a bunch more losses.”
Grant Ready and then Robbins came in after Sivley. In total, the trio gave up just four hits and struck out 18 FCAHS batters.
“I’ve had some state championship teams that didn’t hit great, but did what they did today. That’s pitch great and play great defense,” Knight added. “That’s what we’re going to try to hang our hat on.
“I keep waiting for us to bust out [offensively], and it may not happen. If we gotta win it this way, that’s the type of team we’ve got to be.”
Sumrall improved to 17-5 overall and 6-2 in district play with the win. When it comes to the latter and the Bobcats’ pursuit of a region crown, some help is needed. Aside from needing to sweep Poplarville next week, the Bobcats will need Purvis to lose twice to Lawrence County.
“If it doesn’t happen, we’ll just have to secure the second seed and go from there,” Knight said of the scenarios. “It’s like I told a lot of people, there’s a lot of good 4A teams out there, so even if you’re number one, you’re gonna be facing some good ones at least pretty quickly. Maybe not the first round but shortly after that.”
On the other side, FCAHS fell to 2-14 overall and 1-7 in district play with the loss. The Aggies were led by pitching performances from starter Blake Polk and reliever Donovan Shows, who as previously mentioned, limited Sumrall to just four hits in the game.