‘Dogs nip Jackets

Posted 5/4/23

Quitman’s strong right-hander Landon Richey struck out 15 Mineola hitters in recording a one-hit, 3-2 win, last Tuesday in Mineola.

When the starting pitcher accounts for 15 of the …

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‘Dogs nip Jackets


Quitman’s strong right-hander Landon Richey struck out 15 Mineola hitters in recording a one-hit, 3-2 win, last Tuesday in Mineola.

When the starting pitcher accounts for 15 of the game’s required 21 outs, victory is usually assured. That wasn’t the case though, last Tuesday. 

After the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the first behind base hits by Richey and Davis Watson, they gifted two runs to Mineola in the second.  

Yellowjacket Spencer Joyner led off the second by lining a pitch into right for a single. Brady Shrum collected the only walk issued by Richey, and Mineola had two on. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.

Dalton Hamlin laid down a high bouncing bunt, fielded by Bulldog catcher Carson Dickens. He checked the runner at third, but his throw to first got away from him and Joyner and Shrum scrambled home.

Each side was set down in order in the third. Quitman threatened to break the 2-2 tie in the fourth. 

Dickens led off by sending a single to center on a rail. Landon Green stepped into the box and hit as hard a come-backer as one will ever see. Mineola hurler Kaden Bell made the quick reaction snag and easily doubled the runner off first.  

Quitman did get that tie-breaking run in the fifth.

Justin Matthews reached on an infield hit to start the inning. He promptly stole second and took third on a base hit from Cannin Peppers. With runners at the corners, Tommy Drinkwine hit a high hopper on the second base side of shortstop. Joyner made the play to second for the force as he had no play at the plate. The Bulldogs had their lead.

There was more there for the taking. Kameron Crockett came aboard on a fielder’s choice and an intentional walk given to Richey loaded the bases for Quitman. Mineola’s Bell – who struck out nine and spread eight hits on the night – ended the threat by striking out the next Bulldog hitter on three pitches.   

There was one more bit of excitement in the tightly-contested game. It came in the top of the sixth. 

Green reached on a walk to lead-off the inning. Into the box stepped Watson. He sent a drive deep into the right-field corner. The double put Bulldog runners on second and third.  

Matthews lifted a fly ball into shallow right field. Shrum made an excellent play getting to the ball and cradled a sliding catch. Green had tagged on the catch and was heading for home. Shrum’s throw was just a bit up the third baseline. 

While moving to make the catch, Mineola catcher Matthew Ballew caused Green to leap over him to reach the plate.  He missed the plate and started to scramble back to it. 

Ballew charged him, ball in hand. There was a loud collision. Afterward, Ballew still held the ball, and the second out was recorded. Protests from the Quitman manager regarding charging went largely unanswered. The play stood. 

The final two and one-half innings were just a clinic on good pitching offered by Richey and Bell.

Quitman generated 12 baserunners against two by Mineola. That fact combined with the overwhelming performance by Richey – who remained in control of all of his pitches throughout the game – should have made for a comfortable win for Quitman. It was the beauty of baseball, however, that statistics just cannot tell the whole story.

Mineola came back to defeat Mt. Vernon on Saturday, 8-1, to force a fourth-place tie and one game playoff with Quitman. It was held Monday in Grand Saline.

(See related story Page 9A)