Alex Prewitt flirted with a no-hitter for three innings and gave up just three hits over the next three Thursday, and his Hixson High School baseball team improved to 13-7 with a 5-3 victory over stubborn Meigs County.
Prewitt struck out just five of the 27 batters he faced, but two of them came as he staved off a sixth-inning rally. Meigs County, which scratched across a run in the fifth, had scored two runs in the sixth and had runners on third and second. Obviously tiring, Prewitt reached down and served up the back-to-back strikeouts to try to preserve his fourth victory without a loss.
"He was throwing well and we were playing good 'D' behind him for the most part," Hixson coach Colton Green said.
The first-year coach was somewhat satisfied, although the Wildcats failed to score after the second inning.
"We were swinging it great to start out and did what we needed to do -- jumped out early. Overall I'm pretty pleased," he said.
Hixson got seven of its 10 hits in the first two innings, including a run-scoring triple from Prewitt followed by Andrew Rollins' RBI double. Rollins then came around to score on Gill Brown's single to right field.
The Wildcats made it 5-0 and appeared headed for a five-inning game. Conner Atwood singled and moved to second on Logan Rigsby's sacrifice bunt. Chase Jones, who would have a 3-for-3 night, drew a walk and Prewitt came through with his second hit and RBI. Jones then scored on a fielder's-choice error.
However, the Wildcats went three up and three down the next two innings, leaving the door open for the Tigers, who dropped this season from District 5-AA to District 3-A.
Meigs' Taylor Fugate and Tyler Starling singled and Fugate scored on Bryson Baker's single to right. The Tigers got within two runs in the sixth on singles from J.C. Hurt and Christian Thompson and an error.
"I told the guys after the second inning we settled in and got three runs on four hits and they scored no runs on three hits," Meigs coach Justin Jennings said. "The defense played well. We were one hit away. In the middle of the game we had the bases loaded with no outs and hit a shot back to the pitcher, and the double play takes us out of an inning. If that ball squirts through, we score two."
After the failed opportunity to tie in the sixth, Meigs had another chance in the seventh when Baker reached on an error and Hurt singled before reliever Tyler Moylan induced a comeback for the second out and a semi-deep fly ball to center to end the game.
"We were one hit away. We've been looking for that one big hit, and it just hasn't been happening for us lately," Jennings said. "I hate losing, but games like this -- you want to work better for your district, and if this makes us a little more focused and a little more hungry to work a little harder, then sometimes a loss is better than a win. It doesn't make you sleep any better, but we have positives to take from this game."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.