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INDEPENDENCE –– Grayson County may have been thinking that the final out would never happen. Carroll County must have thought the bottom of the sixth would never end.
Grayson rallied for seven runs in the home half of the sixth then sweated through a Carroll comeback attempt before holding on for its first win of the year, a 9-8 thriller Thursday at Grayson National Bank Park.
“It was good to see us put it all together,” said Blue Devils coach Mike Worrell, whose team has had to replace four senior pitchers lost from last year. “It seemed like everything we hit hard was right at somebody, but when a couple fell in, it just opened up for us.”
Winless through five games and hitless through the first four innings Thursday, the Devils cut a 4-0 deficit in half in the fifth before exploding in the sixth. An infield single and an error set up an RBI double by Daniel Crawford, the first of three Grayson doubles in the inning.
A run-scoring error, a bloop single by Dylan Isom and a walk filled the bases for Spencer Roberts, who ripped a three-run double off the base of the leftfield fence for a 7-6 Grayson lead.
“Just a typical Carroll-Grayson ballgame,” Cavalier coach Joe Tompkins said. “You can never count either team out of it.”
Two batters later, Matt Cornett rattled the fence with a two-run double, sending the Devils into the seventh holding a 9-6 lead.
Isom, the Blue Devils’ starting pitcher, settled down after giving up four runs through two innings and retired the first two Cavaliers in the top of the seventh before running into trouble. Brandon Lineberry and Isaac Sumner kept Carroll alive with a single and a double, respectively, and Aaron Hooven drew a walk to fill the bases.
Cornett, who relieved Isom with a 2-0 count on Hooven, surrendered an RBI single to T.C. Vass, and an infield error allowed Sumner to score before Cornett coaxed a ground ball to second to earn the save.
“Dylan found his rhythm after a couple of innings and pitched well,” Worrell said, “and Cornett made some pressure pitches in the seventh. I was just glad to see that last out finally come.”
Lineberry drilled a two-run homer in the first and Ryan Gravley added an RBI single in the second, with an error on Gravley’s single allowing a run for a 4-0 Cavalier lead after two.
Hooven, Carroll’s starter, carried a no-hitter through four innings before Crawford’s clean single on the first pitch of the fifth broke up the no-no. Isom double home Crawford and scored on Roberts’ high bouncer over third. Hooven left after the fifth with a 4-2 lead.
“He did a good job,” said Tompkins. “He mixed his pitches well and kept them offstride.”
Roberts, Cornett, Crawford and Isom had two hits each, with Roberts driving in four. Lineberry, Sumner and Vass had two hits each for Carroll County.