By CHUCK HATHCOCK
The margin for error against a quality team in the postseason is very, very small just ask the Grenada Chargers.
GHS faced the second-ranked NW Rankin Cougars in a first-round Class 6A series late last week.
In the opener at Flowood, the teams were tied 2-2 until NW Rankin exploded for four runs in the fifth inning to win a 6-2 decision.
A day later, the teams met at Grenada. Both teams struggled defensively with five errors each. In the end, the Cougars won a 2-1 decision to win the series 2-0 and move on to the North 6A semifinals against DeSoto Central.
With the losses, the Chargers end the season at 16-10.
“Offensively, you have to score more runs in a Game 2 than we did,” Coach Jake Yarborough said. “They shut us down at the plate. We had our chances but didn’t convert them.”
The chances than Yarborough eluded came in the second inning against Cougars’ starter Matthew Webb. GHS got singles from Ethan Burke, Bradley Sanford, and Caleb Morgan to load the bases.
Grenada got its lone run when Dillan Hill reached on an error allowing a run to score. That’s when the runs ended. Webb got three straight ground balls that were turned into outs.
“We just didn’t get it done in that inning,” Yarborough said. “You have to find ways to get the runs home.”
The Cougars tied the game with a run in the third inning.
It stayed that way until the fifth inning. After one out, Shelton Wallace walked. Cannon Gibbs followed with a singled. A throwing error on the same play advanced the runners to second and third. Webb drove home the go ahead run with a sacrifice fly to making it 2-1.
Grenada got a single from Jay Redditt in he fifth and left him stranded. That would be the only baserunner the rest of the way for the Chargers.
Both teams finished with five hits. Sanford paced the Chargers with two hits in the contest.
Shelby Craddock, 5-5, was the tough luck loser. He allowed five hits and no earned runs. His ERA this season finished a 1.15.
“Shelby really pitched a fantastic game against one of the better hitting teams in the state,” Yarborough said. “He gave us a chance with his effort.”
Yarborough will go back to work getting ready for 2015. He will be looking to replace six senior starters.
“We are losing some quality players,” Yarborough said. “Summer ball will start soon and we will begin the process of getting ready for next season.”