Tatum Rallies in Final Frame For 5-4 Bi-District Win Against Harmony
LONGVIEW -- All Harmony needed to extend its season was three straight outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of their Class 2A Region III bi-district one-game playoff against Tatum.
It got just one out. Tatum rallied for two runs in the game's final frame and left LeTourneau University's campus one big step closer to state.
And Tatum wanted to play a three-game series?
"I lost the flip," head coach Melissa Burrow said, laughing. "I wanted to play three. I have three good pitchers, so we wanted to play three games."
All's well that ends well.
Starting pitcher Nichole Aldridge turned in a very solid performance for Tatum. She only allowed one run through five innings with good defense behind her.
But things got dicey in the sixth. With Tatum up 3-1, Harmony starting pitcher Mikaelyn Settles doubled and was immediately batted in by Cailee Davidson's base hit.
Aldridge then forced a fly out, but a hit and then a fielding error put two runners on and Alexis Brook's bunt was misplayed so badly that it became a 2 RBIs double and a 4-3 Harmony lead.
Burrow thought a change had to be made. She went with starting shortstop Kylee Edgmon to get Tatum out of the hole.
Edgmon threw a wild pitch facing her first batter, but she tagged Harmony's Keeley Chamberlain at the plate in the sequence and responded with a strikeout for the third out of the inning.
Everything counts. Harmony had another runner tagged out inches from the plate in the fourth inning.
Tatum put together a promising bottom sixth with a two-out walk and then two base hits. Yet Justice Moore was tagged out at home trying to stretch the inning's final hit for the game-tying run from second base.
Edgmon went back to the circle and shut Harmony down after giving up two one-out walks.
"We work hard every day in practice," Edgmon said. "I pitch every day and we always work on these situations. Pressure in those situations is normal. I had to get the job done, and I have the mindset."
Harmony still had the lead, however, 4-3.
Things got grimmer when the first Tatum batter of the bottom seventh grounded out to second base.
"This is my 15th year coaching, and this group has their mind set on going all the way," Burrow said. "That has been our goal since August. This team, their mindset has been so strong and they never let up. Usually we're a sixth inning team. We played Jefferson the other day, we were down 5-2, and in the sixth inning we scored seven runs. This team does not give up and that's the great thing about them."
Tatum needed one run to tie and two to win.
Just one of two seniors on Tatum's roster, Jolee Sutherland got a hit and stretched it all the way to third base on Harmony's fourth error of the night. Jacquelyn Bartley laid down a sacrifice bunt, Harmony's Settles opted to go to third base to tag Sutherland and the ball got away to score the runner while Bartley moved on to second base.
Taylor Williams, 0-for-3 at the plate up to the point, delivered the game-winning infield hit less than a minute later after Bartley advanced to third on a wild pitch.
"When I got up to bat, I was really nervous at first," Williams said. "I had two strikes on me and then the pitch came in and I saw it. But I saw they bobbled the ball and I knew we had just won the game."
Tatum will play the winner of the Garrison and Hemphill series in the area round of the playoffs.
"All year long, we've been kind of a sixth inning team," Burrow said. Tonight, you know, close to the same thing."
Tatum 5, Harmony 4
Class 2A Region III Bi-District Single Playoff Game
At LeTourneau University
Harmony 001 003 0 -- 4 8 5
Tatum 100 200 2 -- 5 6 1
Pitchers and catchers
- Harmony: Mikaelyn Settles and McKinna Seahorn.
- Tatum: Nichole Aldridge, Kylee Edgmon (6) and Kasadi Hodges, Breanna Tatum (6).
WP -- Edgmon.
LP -- Settles.
- Harmony: Jodi Hoelscher, Seahorn, Settles.