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#5 - Oxford vs. Ridgeland (Game 2) Baseball 2012 - "The Comeback Kids"
Yes, this game only happened 4 months ago, but it seems like forever. The best High School Baseball Game that I have ever watched. It had just about everything you could ask for. Both games did really.
Oxford won Game 1 of this series in the 2nd Round of the playoffs this past year largely due to a big comeback that incorporated a big inning along with it and stunned the home fans in Ridgeland.
OHS trailed 4-2 heading into the top of the 6th inning. The 2 runs Oxford earned was on a Parker Adamson Home Run that occurred in the 2nd inning but have been largely been in check all night by the starting pitcher (SP) for Ridgeland that has had a lead the entire night thanks to a 3-spot they put up in the first inning on OHS SP Steven Whitfield. The Titans tacked another on in the 3rd inning.
OHS could have gotten pretty down after they had grounded into a 5-3 Double Play last inning with the bases loaded, but no that did not happen. They got right back up and fought.
Adamson was pegged to lead the inning off. After Sam Hunter flew out, Kade Metts took a fastball he got right at his eyes for a ride. It hit the top of the fence in Center Field and took a crazy angle that led to a RBI-Triple that made it 4-3. A HBP by Chadwick Lamar and a infield-single by Michael Bianco (prevented Metts from advancing home) got the bases loaded. Luke Gibbs blasted a Triple to Center Field that scored all the runners and then because of a poor-mentally-attributed throw back to the pitcher allowed Gibbs to score and made it 7-4. Oxford proceeded to get two more hits, score twice more in the inning and then scored two more in the 7th to make the final margin 11-5.
Game 1 was a game on its own that could have made this list, but it was simply the platform to what was coming in Game 2.
Game 2 saw just about the same thing happen. Ridgeland came in with a hot bat on SP Hunter Roth and managed to put together 7 runs in 4 1/2 innings to take a dominating 7-1 lead (Adamson hit his 2nd HR of the series for the 1 run). Things almost looked assured that the series was going back to Ridgeland. Noland Parham came in and cooled the bats down over the next 2-3 innings.
In the bottom half of the 5th, Oxford's efforts for a rally appeared to be futile on not necessarily a routine fly out but a play that should have easily been made by the Center Fielder. He tried to one-hand the catch but mis-timed the ball and dropped it, keeping the inning alive and allowing Bianco who got on base with a walk to get home (he was going on the hit with 2 outs).
William Elliott then punched a RBI-single to right to make it 7-3. Henry Webb hit his first career high school Home Run, a 2-run bomb, to make it 7-5. Adamson then struck a monster for his third Home Run of the series in the following at bat to make it 7-6, all with 2 outs in the inning where all 5 runs could have been prevented by catching that fly ball. A pop-out to the Shortstop ended the inning but Oxford was back in it.
After a quiet 6th inning, Ridgeland could not tack an insurance run in the 7th. Oxford had 3 outs in the bottom of the 7th to get at least 1 run to extend the game into the 8th. Oxford got a lead-off walk by Gibbs, but James Lear grounded into a Fielder's Choice for 1 out. A flyout by Elliott made it 2 outs with a runner on 1st base. Webb walked on 5 pitches to put runners on 2nd and 1st with Adamson - who already put three over the fence on them - at the plate.
It was not a walk-off Home Run, but he ripped a single up the middle to complete the comeback and tie it at 7. A groundout ended the 7th to force extra innings.
Ridgeland got a leadoff walk but could not do anything with it in the top of the 8th. Oxford had its chance and was determined not to let Ridgeland pick up another bat this season. Hunter fought for a leadoff walk (who was then lifted for the faster Aundrel Turner). Metts laid down a bunt for an intent to sacrifice himself but no one covered first base for Ridgeland; (He was lifted for a faster Ty Barber) 2nd & 1st, no outs. Bianco then got a bunt single down the third base line that the third baseman could not make a play on.
Bases loaded and no outs, Oxford looked poised to win the game and end Ridgeland's season with Gibbs coming up to the plate. With the infield in, Gibbs ripped a hard grounder right at the second baseman who started a 4-2-3 (2nd to Catcher to 1st) Double Play. Ridgeland looked relieved that they were fixing to get out of a monster jam to save their season.
They forgot they had to get three outs.
Lear ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle for a walk-off single to score Barber from third. Lear was quickly trampled by his teammates that started a dog-pile. Oxford won 8-7 and sent Ridgeland on a long bus ride home to digest the game they just blew a 6-run lead on and that stopped the Titans from playing meaningful baseball until February. The same way Ridgeland did to Oxford in 2011 when they went on to win the State Championship.
This was easily the most exciting baseball game I have seen - note the language used there - by OHS. Made possible by a team that was counted out way too often. Too many factors in this series alone and the largest comeback I've seen by the Oxford Chargers in any sport (relatively speaking of course) makes this game at #5 on the Top 20 Games Countdown.
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