CAIRO -- The Cairo baseball team was like a bad rash Friday. They simply wouldn't go away.
The pesky Syrupmakers overcame deficits of 3-0, 4-3 and 7-6 before beating the Westover Patriots, 8-7, in a key Region 1-AA game at Jackie Robinson Field.
"That did us some good," said Cairo coach Ron Best, whose team improved to 8-4 in region play -- good enough for second place behind Worth County, which locked up No. 1 earlier this week by beating Cairo.
The Syrupmakers' final comeback was filled with drama. It started in the sixth inning shortly after they surrendered a short-lived 6-4 lead when successive hits by Westover's J.T. Santos and J.D. Yeatts knocked in a total of three runs.
The Patriots' 7-6 advantage could have been larger, but Santos was cut down at the plate on Yeatts' hit for the first out of the frame. After the close play, Santos slammed his helmet into the turf and was immediately ejected by the home plate umpire.
At that point, a sassy and loud Westover fan voiced her displeasure with the call. She was warned once by the base umpire to be quiet --- but didn't oblige --- and eventually received the heave-ho before reluctantly leaving the ballpark.
When play resumed several minutes later, relief pitcher Trey Kimmel retired two straight hitters on pop-ups to get out of the jam.
"That play (at the plate) certainly energized the crowd, and when the crowd gets going it really energizes the home team," Best said. "That was great that our crowd got us going and the kids responded."
Tyler Steele's response was a mammoth game-tying home run to left field to start the sixth frame. Cairo had other scoring opportunities in the inning but stranded runners at second and third.
In the top of the seventh, Kimmel retired the Patriots in order to set up the completion of the clinching rally against Westover pitcher Michael Schlegel. The deciding run, tallied by Chas Funderburk, scored on a bases-loaded single to center by Matthew Ferguson. It was Ferguson's fourth hit.
Ferguson stepped to the plate with the bases loaded because Funderburk reached on a base on balls and advanced to third after Jonathan Moore walked and Steele was hit by a pitch.
"We hung around and hung around," said Best, whose team scored in every inning except the third. "Our pitching wasn't real sharp, but the pitchers kept throwing strikes and giving us a chance to make plays."
Kimmel earned the win in relief of Chris Layton, who rebounded with a solid second frame after allowing three runs on five first-inning hits. Kimmel worked the final five innings, giving up three runs on three hits and posting four strikeouts.
"Trey is really a gamer," Best said. "He's ultra competitive."
Cairo compiled 11 hits and Westover notched 10. Jacob Campbell, Robert Daniel and Yeatts led Westover with two apiece.
Daniel was the Patriots' starting pitcher.
--- Mark Lastinger/Thomasville Times-Enterprise
LEE SPLITS WITH BAINBRIDGE, LOCKS UP NO. 1 IN SUB REGION:
BAINBRIDGE -- The Lee County baseball team only needed a split in its series with Bainbridge on Friday to lock up the No. 1 seed heading into next week's subregion tournament.
The Trojans lost Game 1, 8-3, thanks a complete-game performance from Bainbridge's Marty Anderson (7 IP, 5 H, 4K), but snagged a win in Game 2, 11-6, behind an awesome game from Taylor Jordan.
Jordan was 3-for-3 with a single, double and grand slam, collecting 7 RBI.
Jordan was also dynamite in Game 1, going 2-for-3 with an RBI as he was the only player with multiple hits for Lee in the opener.
Bainbridge got a home run from Blake Voyles in Game 2 as he finished 3-for-4 with a single, double and a homer.
Lee now will play either Harris County or Upson-Lee on Friday at home in the opening round of the playoffs.
SGA UPENDS SCA IN EXTRAS:
ALBANY -- Jamie Barton and Nick Lawrence had clutch hits to spark a four-run eighth inning as SGA broke a 5-5 tie and then hung on to beat Sherwood, which had it's own late dramatics when Zane Hood hit a two-out, two-run homer to close to 9-7, but the Eagles could get no closer.
Dillon Driver got the win for SGA and Hood had a gutsy day on the mound while taking the loss. He had to pitch the final six innings, replacing Sherwood ace Robert Wilson, who was limited because he had pitched the day before.
"We have just run out of pitchers,'' Sherwood coach Alan McWillams said. "I've got two of my starters out, and we're just short-handed right now.''
Hood drove in four runs to help Sherwood come back from 4-1 and 5-3 deficits, and the Eagles knotted the score at 5-5 with a two-run fifth. John Schramm went 3-for-5 and Hunter Hatcher went 2-for-5 for Sherwood.
"It was a great game," SGA coach Tommy Manry said. "One of the more exciting ones all year.
Austin Boyd went 4-for-5 for SGA.
DWS 8, WESTFIELD 6:
Banks Kinslow earned the win, Chris Moates went 2-for-4, as did Michael Matthews, and the Knights now sit one win from clinching the Region 3-AAA title.
If Deerfield can beat Brookwood on Tuesday, the Knights will take the No. 1 seed into the state playoffs, which begin May 7 and 8.
Deerfield held off a late Westfield rally as Rhett Cooper made a diving catch in the outfield to rob what would've been two Westfield runs in the bottom of the seventh.