#9 Oxford vs. Itawamba (Game 3) - Baseball 2009
"The Series That Never Ends"
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This is by far the most exciting series of games I've ever seen in High School Sports. It unfortunately ended in a loss for the Oxford Chargers. This is the only "Top" game where it ended in a loss in the Top 20 Countdown.
This series occurred in the 2nd Round of the 2009 Baseball playoffs where it was a "Best-of-3" format - just like it is today.
Game 1 of the series between the Indians and the Chargers was a classic pitchers duel, ending with Oxford on top 1-0. Phillip Malatesta improved to 10-0 on the year - the last Oxford pitcher to post double-digit wins in a single season. He was responsible for at least 15 of the 21 outs (13 by strikeout, 2 by putout) in that game were runs had to be bought and paid for.
Game 2 saw Oxford jump out to an early lead but also saw Charley Sullivan struggle with his command. Blaine Sellers tried to keep them at bay but was unable to. Oxford's bats falling asleep also had something to do with it late and Itawamba took Game 2 in extra innings 6-5.
Game 3 went back to Oxford for the finale. This one was back and forth affair with Oxford going into the top of the 7th holding a 7-5 lead. Dustin McNeese - Oxford's "closer" - was a strike away from winning the series. He threw a fastball basically saying "try and hit this."
Well, he hit it, all the way to Coach Drew Tyler's front yard - which is across the street from Bramlett Blvd from the baseball field AFTER going over a row of houses. The Indians blasted a 2-run homerun to tie it at 7.
After Oxford failed to score in the bottom of the 7th, the game went into extra innings. Itawamba was able to scratch a run across to make it 8-7 in the top of the 8th. Oxford gave it an effort but was unable to scratch one across themselves and ended the game on a 6-3 groundout. Itawamba would get eliminated themselves in the next round of the playoffs.
The fact this series had 3 1-run games just shows how close this series was. Two of those games went into extra innings to decide it. Each game was intense, each game someone made a play, each game was not decided until the final out was made.
This series is what a sports series is supposed to be about. Scratching and clawing for every single play. Whatever it be in the NBA, MLB, NHL or another tournament, this series could not have been scripted to be like this.
The thrill of the game, the fans that got to enjoy it and not have any dull moments that got their $15 worth of tickets they had to pay for; players fighting for every run and neither team not wanting to lose it, every game being so close and the "what ifs" in those games is what makes Game 3 the 9th-ranked game in the Top 20 Countdown.