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Opp leaves Jackson in dust

OPP — Opp isn’t through with the 2010 season yet, as the Bobcats edged Jackson 10-9 to win the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs Saturday in game three at Merchants Field.

“All 20 guys contributed (Saturday),” Opp baseball coach Michael Cassady said. “Not the guys that played and started, but all 20 of them because on the field or in the dugout, that was important.”

The Bobcats (24-5) split with the Aggies Friday night. Opp lost the first game of the series 3-2, but came back to win the second game, 8-1.

Opp will travel to play UMS-Wright in Mobile at Radcliff Field Friday night in the second round of the playoffs at 4 and 6:30.

Jackson drew first blood on Saturday with an RBI single from J.D. Mitchell to score Sam Harbuck.

Opp’s Josh Thompson got the scoring going in the bottom of the first on a single to score Dilan Ziglar, who reached on a walk.

Gavin Free then came around on a single from Alex Banks. After that, the runs just kept coming as Thompson and Banks scored on singles from Lance Robbins and Drew Smith, respectively.

The Bobcats added two runs in the second inning on a two-run triple from Thompson.

Jackson countered with three runs of its own in the third inning on a sac fly from Jeremy Armstead and a two-run single from Josh Kimball.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning.

The fifth inning turned out to be the key inning for Opp because the Bobcats scored four runs off four hits and one walk after Jackson went ahead 8-6 in the top half of the same inning.

Jackson’s Harbuck, Mitchell, Armstead and Windham Jackson scored on a single, a walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, in that inning.

Robbins started the inning with a double and then scored on a double from Smith for the Bobcats.

Smith later came around on a single from Zach Sasser.

Thompson came through for the Bobcats again, hitting a two-run single to score Trey Short and Free.

With the score 10-8 in Opp’s favor, Jackson’s Mitchell hit a solo home run on a 3-1 count to give his team its last run of the day.

In Opp’s 21-inning series with Jackson, only three batters struck out at the plate.

Cassady said that the team hit the ball well.

“We had 10 hits and we wanted to have a good first two innings,” he said. “We wanted to start out better than we have done.”

The Bobcats only allowed three hits and one run in the last three innings with the help of winning pitcher, Jantzen Flowers.

“We did a great job of pitching,” Cassady said. “They have a great baseball team. Coach (Jason) Jones does a great job with them. It’s sad that one of the teams has to go home because it’s two great baseball teams. I’m just proud of my kids.”

Flowers scattered two batters to third base for the first two outs in the top of the seventh, and then ended the game grounding out the lead-off hitter to the mound, throwing him out at first for the win.

Jones said Opp was a great opponent to play, and they took advantage of his team’s errors.

“We made four errors against a good ball club,” he said. “It’s pobably amazing that we were in a one-run ball game. We had a chance to win it. We went up and took the lead and then gave it right back.

“Like I said, you can’t make errors against good ball clubs and we did,” he said. “The good ball club capitalized on it and the best of luck to them.”

Short was 1-for-5 with one single and one run; Ziglar was 1-for-5 with one run; Free was 2-for-4 with two singles and three runs; Sasser was 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI; Thompson was 4-for-4 with one run and five RBIs; Banks was 1-for-4 with one run and one RBI: Robbins was 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI; and Smith was 3-for-4 with one run and two RBIs.