In a battle for playoff position in Region VI-AAAA, late heroics lifted the Conway baseball team on Tuesday.
Down by two runs entering the seventh inning, the Tigers’ Colby Ard started the rally as he drove in teammates GK Young and Grant Holmes on a double to tie the game up.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Jordan Gore laid down a game-winning RBI bunt that drove in Wilson Mishoe to lift Conway over West Florence 5-4 in extras.
“I’m so proud of my team right now,” Tigers coach Anthony Carroll said. “They were down by two and found a way to get through and won it in the eighth. I can’t say enough about that team right there.”
Said Gore: “I can’t say I won it. We pulled together and won it as a team.”
That they certainly did. And the Tigers didn’t need the big bats to get there.
“It started with Mishoe, who got a walk for us. Then we got down a bunt, got another bunt and then another bunt. All we did is bunt. We preach to our kids that we want to play small ball and it certainly paid off for us tonight,” said Carroll, whose team kept even in second place in the region with Sumter, whom Conway owns a tiebreaker over.
With two men on for Conway, the Knights moved center fielder Akeem Bostick behind their third baseman, anticipating a bunt down the third base line. However, the Tigers had different plans as a bunt was laid down the first-base line to set up the game-winner.
“The play in order there was a bunt down third base,” Carroll said. “I think they were going to try and get it to first base and try to get that out. But [we] laid down a nice bunt and it worked out well for us.”
Grant Holmes struck out two in five innings of work and earned a no-decision for Conway.
“Grant threw well,” Carroll said. “We didn’t help him much on defense. But I thought he threw pretty well.”
Meanwhile, Carroll had high praise for Gore and his clutch ability at the plate.
“He comes up in a big situation, there’s nobody else I’d rather have at the plate than Jordan Gore,” Carroll said. “We can do anything with him. It worked out well having him there in the right spot and I’m glad we were able to get it done.”
Will Parker picked up the win for Conway as he tossed three innings of relief. Dylan Jordan finished 3-for-3 and Ard was 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Tigers.
After taking Game 1 of the three-game series, the Tigers will travel to West Florence and will have to go up against Bostick, one of the most pursued players in the state.
“We’re still in for another day,” Carroll said. “It’s going to be tough to beat Bostick but we’ll go down there and give it our best shot.”
As for Gore, he’s not too worried about who’s on the mound.
“He’s just another pitcher,” he said.
• W–Will Parker. L–Zack McKay. Top hitters – WF: Grayson Cottingham 2-4, Austin King 2-3. CON: Dylan Jordan 3-3; Colby Ard 2-3, 3 RBIs.
Records – West Florence 18-2, 8-2 Region VI-AAAA, Conway 15-6, 6-4 Region VI-AAAA.