Deerfield blasts its way past Terrell

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

DAWSON -- For most of the day, Terrell Academy held Deerfield-Windsor's bats in check.

Then, after a late-inning rally by the Eagles sent the game into extras, the Knights' big guns came out and ended things.

Deerfield's Rhett Cooper and Chris Moates hit back-to-back moonshots in the ninth inning to help the Knights (4-0) pull out an 8-5 extra-inning victory Monday. It was a rematch of last week's down-to-the-wire 8-7 win by Deerfield against the Eagles (1-3).

"Three through six (in the lineup), we've got a lot of power," said Cooper, who hit his first dinger of the year after slugging two last season.

DWS junior Michael Laslie joined the offensive explosion with a two-run opposite field homer of his own in the eighth to put the Knights ahead 5-3 before Terrell rallied again. Deerfield's three homers were part of its 14-hit parade on a day that started as a pitcher's duel between Cooper and Cole Phillips.

"We got some free swingers," DWS coach Rod Murray said. "We expect to hit the ball hard. We're trying to hit some line drives and if it goes, it goes."

After Laslie's blast in the top of the eighth, Eagles catcher Brian Ambrose doubled in Colby Blackburn to cut the lead to 5-4. Adam O'Hearn then singled to drive in Phillips to tie the game, but Ambrose was gunned down at the plate by Cooper's throw from right field sending the game into the ninth.

"It could have gone either way," Eagles coach Ashley Walker said of the play at the plate, ending with Gill Gillespie barely applying the tag as Ambrose dove around him.

"That was a heck of a relay," Murray said of Cooper's throw home. "Good teams put pressure on each other like that. That's just an example of a team making a play. We're just fortunate it was us."

DWS led 3-1 after Laslie's sacrifice fly scored Gillespie in the top of the sixth, but Terrell Academy came alive in the bottom half of the inning. Cooper, who allowed just two hits through five innings, walked two batters before Evan Stokes hit a two-run double off reliever Banks Kinslow to tie the game at 3-3.

"We got challenged a little bit and finally stepped up there at the end of the game," Walker said. "It felt like we had a chance to win it at the end and we just came up short."

Kinslow ended up with the win after throwing three innings, beating Terrell for the second time in a week in a relief appearance. Phillips picked up a no-decision despite going five strong innings for the Eagles, allowing just two runs while striking out five.

Laslie went 2-for-4 with three RBI, including his first homer of his Deerfield career hitting out of the No. 9 hole. He and Gillespie (2-for-4, two runs scored) combined to go 4-for-8 at the bottom of the order, which has produced runs in the early season.

"I don't know," Laslie said of the run production from the bottom of the order. "It's surprised me, too, but you've gotta hit somewhere. I like it there. You see nothing but fastballs, no curves."

Cooper went 3-for-5 with a RBI, while Moates knocked in two and Michael Matthews added two hits. Matt Brown added a RBI for the Eagles, and Phillips scored two runs.

Terrell Academy opens region play today at 4:30 p.m. at Westwood. Deerfield plays host to Tiftarea at 6:30 p.m.