Tallassee splits with Beauregard as playoff hopes hang in the balance

Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee third baseman Bruin Hathcock throws to first after making a diving stop to take away a base hit from a Beauregard batter.

Tallassee will have to rely on results from other teams this week as its baseball fate in Class 5A Area 4 is out of its hands after splitting last week’s series with Beauregard before falling flat in the tiebreaker. The Tigers got a gem on the mound from Beau Baker in the opener but did not find enough offense in the final two games to take control of their own destiny.

The Tigers (8-13, 2-2) hosted Beauregard in the opener Wednesday and got two runs in three different innings on their way to a 6-0 win. Baker allowed just five hits and struck out four in his first complete game of the season.

“You could tell early that his breaking ball was on and we called it a lot,” Tallassee catcher Reece Graham said. “He was getting it over the plate and he did a great job tonight.”

While Baker continued to deal, Graham ignited Tallassee’s offense three times to lead the Tigers to their second area win. Graham went to the plate for the first time with one out in the second inning and doubled to right-center field.

The big hit started a rally for the Tigers and was followed by RBI hits from Logan Pierce and Bobby Baker. Tallassee took a 2-0 lead which would have been enough for Beau Baker but Graham was not finished at the plate.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Graham led off with a single before returning to the dugout in favor of a designated runner. The Tigers extended their lead to 4-0 after a two-run double by Bobby Baker.

Graham did the same thing in the sixth inning, starting another rally with a lead-off single. Tallassee finished that inning with a 6-0 lead, scoring the final run of the game on another RBI single from Pierce.

“I just go up there and try to have a good approach,” Graham said. “I tell myself that I’m going to get a base hit and get something started for us.”

Despite not being credited with any runs, Graham said he believes it brings more energy to the team when he can return to the dugout after a big hit. When a runner replaces Graham on the base paths, he joins the rest of his team in the dugout to help cheer on the next hitters to keep the rally going.

“We just try to play together,” Graham said. “We talk it up in there and keep each other encouraged. It just helps everyone stay focused the whole time.”

Tallassee’s win in the series opener became even bigger when the Tigers’ offense fell flat in the return trip to Beauregard. The Hornets came alive to stay on top of the area standings after a 12-2 win in Game 2 and a 10-1 win in the tiebreaker.

The Tigers have one final area series which starts with a trip to Brewbaker Tech on Thursday. Tallassee will need to grab at least one more win in its series than Valley gets against Beauregard. If Valley sweeps Beauregard, Tallassee can still make the playoffs with a sweep of Brew Tech.

“We just have to go out there and do the same thing we’ve been doing,” Graham said of the remaining area games after the opener against Beauregard.  “We were doing a lot of things well today so we have to keep those things going.”