It doesn't matter how hard you hit the ball. In the words of the legendary “Wee” Willie Keeler, the key is to “Hit it where they ain't.”
Prairie View sophomore Maclendon Sharp carried a .600 batting average into Monday afternoon's game against Riverdale. By the bottom of the seventh, Sharp had only an 0-for-3 to show for two line drives.
Sharp's two-out, walkoff single to the opposite field fell just beyond the reach of a diving Riverdale left fielder Martin Gould, lifting the Spartans to a 3-2 MAIS District 3-2A victory.
Initially, Sharp thought the game was going into extra innings.
“It was a fastball on the outside corner. When I first hit it, I thought it was caught,” Sharp said. “Then I saw it kind of slice away from (Gould) and I started feeling more positive.”
After dropping both ends of a double header to Central Hinds to start district play, the Spartans (4-5-2, 1-2) desperately needed the victory.
“We need this win bad, and we need the one Friday, too” said Sharp, referring to Friday's return game against the Rebels on Friday.
Sharp also went the distance on the mound, striking out six and walking two, while holding the Rebels to four hits. It was the lefthander's second straight solid outing after two rough starts.
“I don't know if I would call it a slump, but those two games weren't that great for me,” Sharp said. “My body felt good, but my arm slot wasn't right. I was just trying to guide the ball. I'm feeling more comfortable now.”
Pinch hitter Tanner Aulds walked on four pitches to start the Prairie View seventh and moved into scoring position on Chyenne Mayo's sacrifice bunt. One out later, Sharp took the first pitch for a ball, then went the other way to drive in the game-winner.
Prairie View opened up a 2-0 lead in the third when Matt Reed reached on a two-base, two-out error with the bases loaded.
Sharp allowed only two base runners through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. With two away, Matt Warren bounced an RBI double off the center field wall. Two batters later, Cole Hinds singled home the equalizer.
Brandon Jacobs doubled to left with two outs in the second for the Spartans' only extra base hit. Tristen Shanks, Sharp and Reed singled.
Warren clubbed a pair of doubles and Dalton Fowler, Hinds and John Griffith singled for the Rebels.
Hinds went the distance in a losing cause, striking out three and walking four.
Prairie View makes the haul to Coushatta on Friday for a JV/varsity double header against Riverdale. First pitch for the JV game is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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