Grissom outlasts Pelham in 13 innings to take baseball playoff series

The Grissom Tigers celebrated the Class 6A baseball quarterfinal series victory over the Pelham Panthers twice Saturday, May 1, but it was the second celebration following Patrick Dodson’s two-run homerun in the 13th inning that counted as the Tigers won 9-7.

The Tigers celebrated prematurely in the bottom of the seven inning following what appeared to be the winning run, but Grissom’s Taylor Jones, who was on first base, did not proceed to second base. Instead, he headed for the celebration pile.

Pelham assistant coach Jeff Schrupp saw the mishap, and directed a player to get the ball and tag second base. Jones was called out, the players and fans had to leave the field and the game proceeded into extra innings.

“I had already written down ‘loss’ on my scorecard,” said Pelham head coach Jeff Mauldin. “Coach Schrupp’s background as a minor league umpire paid off. He was all over it.”

In extra innings, the Tigers turned a double play at first and home plate to stop a Pelham scoring opportunity in the eighth inning, and then Grissom did it again when centerfielder Brandon Lawing made a diving catch with bases loaded to end the top half of the 12th inning.

Pelham’s Michael Bishop lined out to third base with bases loaded in the top half of the 13th inning before Dodson smashed the game-winning homerun.

“Gosh, how many scoring opportunities did we have?” Mauldin said. “We were where we wanted to be.”

The Panthers led by four runs twice in the game, beginning by scoring two runs in the first inning and one run apiece in the second and third innings.

The Tigers answered with a two-run homerun by Blake Massey in the third inning, but the Panthers increased the lead back to four in the top half of the fourth inning when Andrew Bishop knocked an RBI single and later scored on a passed ball.

Grissom cut the lead to two in the bottom half of the inning off of back-to-back RBI singles by Jones and Josh Macurdy.

The Tigers tied the game in the next inning off of another Massey homerun and a Jones RBI single.

The Panthers took the lead in the top half of the seventh inning when a runner scored on a passed ball, but the Tigers answered in the bottom half of the inning before the missed base controversy led to extra innings.

Grissom’s A.J. Braun earned the win on the mound, while Hunter Pearson picked up the loss.

Offensively for the Panthers, Tripp Martin and Michael Bishop each had a double and an RBI, while Reed Bright and Andrew Bishop each finished with an RBI. Parker Curry, Hunter Ragsdale and Michael Herring also each finished with a hit.

Despite the loss, Mauldin said he was proud of the way his team fought back, and for the work, dedication and groundwork the senior class laid for the future of Pelham baseball.

“I started here four years ago and this was the first group I had to go all the way through the program,” Mauldin said. “It’s a special, special group of kids. They probably broke every record in the school books. The impact they made is more than just Pelham baseball. They left an impact on this team, this school and this community.”