Pickerell's double completes Scotland County's comeback

Clark County's Cory Shatley can't evade a tag by Scotland County's Gage Dodge in Kahoka, Mo., on Thursday, Apr. 20, 2017. Scotland County defeated Clark County, 8-7, | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 21, 2017 2:10 am

KAHOKA, Mo. -- Will Pickerell had struck out his previous two at-bats when he dug into the batter's box in the top of the seventh inning.

He didn't allow himself to strike out a third time.

Pickerell hit a first-pitch curveball down the left field line for an RBI double, giving the Scotland County baseball team the go-ahead run to beat Clark County 8-7 Thursday evening. The Tigers, ranked fourth in Class 2, stay undefeated at 11-0.

"I just needed to find a pitch near the zone and make contact," Pickerell said. "When I saw that first one, it was a hanger, and I just had to jump on it. It was probably the best pitch I was going to get all at-bat."

Pickerell, the ninth hitter in the Scotland County lineup, had a single in his first at-bat in the third inning. However, he was tagged out trying to score from second base on an RBI single by Gage Dodge. Aaron Blessing scored ahead of him on the play.

He struck out to end the fourth inning with a runner in scoring position when the Tigers trailed 3-2. He led off the sixth with a strikeout.

Pickerell wiped those from his mind in his fourth at-bat. It's what Scotland County coach Mikel Gragg preaches to his players.

"Each at-bat is a different at-bat," Gragg said. "You just have to forget it. Even if it's hitting a home run or striking out."

Scotland County was forced to rally after Clark County (10-2), ranked ninth in Class 3, took a 3-0 lead after Evan Cameron smacked a three-run homer off pitcher Aaron Buford in the second inning. The Tigers entered the game having allowed 25 runs all season.

"That was big for us," Clark County outfielder Zeb Riney said. "He was more excited than I've ever seen him before. That got us excited."

Clark County pitcher Cory Shatley belted a homer to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning to push the Indians' lead to 4-2 after the Tigers scored runs in the third and fourth frames. Scotland County came right back in the fifth after Buford led off with a double and Dodge singled to put runners on the corners. Clark County catcher Grant Plenge's throw to shortstop Addison Sprague to catch Dodge stealing went into center field, and Buford scored. Dodge scored on an RBI single by Lane Pence to tie the game at 4.

"This was the first time we've face adversity like that," Buford said. "We haven't been down very often this year. So to come back like that was huge."

Scotland County needed a rally after Clark County scored three runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Riney and a two-run single by Caleb Lapsley. The Tigers answered with three runs in the sixth as Pence belted a two-out, two-run shot over the scoreboard to tie the game at 7.

Before his at-bat, Clark County made a throwing error on a potentially inning-ending double play.

"They just hit the ball," Indians coach Jerry Jerome said. "They're a really good hitting team. When you have a chance to get them out, you have to get them out."

Pence had two hits and three RBIs for Scotland County, while Buford went 3 for 4 and scored twice. Cameron had two hits, three RBIs and scored twice for the Indians.

Dodge got the victory after throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just one hit.

"This was the kind of victory we're looking for," Gragg said. "We've had a lot of no-so-close games. This was one of those games that we needed to have."

Scotland County 8, Clark County 7

Scotland County 001 123 1--8 16 0

Clark County 030 130 0--7 9 3

Buford, Fromm (3), Dodge (6) and Pence; Shatley, Gutting (6), Billings (7) and Plenge. WP--Dodge. LP--Bilings. 2B--Scotland County 2 (Buford, Blessing), Clark County 1 (Shatley). HR--Scotland County 1 (Pence), Clark County 2 (Cameron, Shatley).