Nashville adds a dash of bravado to steal victory

LONOKE -- With two strikes and two outs in the sixth, Nashville Coach Kyle Slaton told Tyler Hanson to take his lead off of third base.

Then he said go.

Hanson, dashing to home plate before Monticello pitcher Nick Griffin noticed, was ruled safe on a bang-bang play with the go-ahead run in a 4-3 victory over the Billies in the Class 4A semifinals Monday afternoon.

Nashville will meet defending state champion Shiloh Christian, a 3-2 winner over Malvern, in the state title game Friday in Fayetteville.

Monticello used a three-run fifth inning to tie the score at 3-3 before Hanson reached on an error in the sixth inning prior to stealing home.

"I was looking at it a little earlier, and I thought [Griffin] was kinda slow [throwing to the catcher].. Right before he got the ball back, I told Tyler, 'Let's just start walking down this line,' and we just took off and took a chance.

"To me, it was just do or die."

Monticello Coach Trevor Durham thought Griffin's throw to catcher Sam Mencer was in time.

"When we had our meeting, I told our guys to be aware of the early break -- especially with two strikes -- and we executed,'' Durham said. "Umpires make calls. I felt like he was out. That's the way it goes.

"We competed. We got down 3-0, and we came back. We still swung it. I'm proud of these kids."

Griffin, a freshman left-hander, was not as sharp as he was in a three-hit shutout in the opening round against Heber Springs. Griffin walked in a pair of runs, 2 of his 5 walks and 2 hit batters.

Nashville got a solid performance from Zach Jamison, who allowed 8 hits, struck out 6 and walked just 1. He beat Monticello 8-0 in the regional semifinals.

Trailing 3-0, the Billies got RBI hits from Clint Pigott and Grant Jeffers. Pigott scored the tying run on a passed ball.

Shiloh Christian 3, Malvern 2

The Saints fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but responded quickly.

Michael Connolly singled in two runs in the bottom of the first inning, and the Saints added a run in the third to make it 3-1.

Malvern scored a run in the first on Brandon Scott's RBI hit. In the fourth, Parker Freer's RBI single closed the scoring.

Landon Brown picked up the victory for the Saints, allowing 8 hits while striking out 10.

Sports on 05/16/2017

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