VIDEO: Wild and wacky ending to baseball playoff series between North Cobb and Grayson

North Cobb was the winning team in the one of the wackiest endings to a baseball playoff series in years.

Avery Cross had a walk-off hit-by-pitch plate appearance with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh in a 12-11 win over Grayson in Saturday’s deciding game of the best-of-3 series in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

“It was really pretty wild — I’ve never seen anything like it,” North Cobb coach Tom Callahan said.

The two teams combined for a dizzying display of belated offensive firepower, combing to score a total of 15 runs over the game’s final two innings.

With North Cobb (20-9) trailing 11-10 in the bottom of the seventh, the Warriors loaded the bases with one out. Grayson coach Seth Rhine tried some creative strategy, instructing one of his outfielders to go to the infield to play defense. Rhine then told all five infielders to play close to the grass, making it easier for a force out at any base.

Unfortunately for Grayson, the ball was never put into play, as relief pitcher Austin Miller hurled an inside fastball that struck the thigh of Cross, the North Cobb batter.

“It was kind of an unorthodox way to win,” Cross said. “I really had no idea we had won for a few seconds there. It took a few seconds to register.”

Callahan, watching from the dugout, also had a delayed reaction before finally acknowledging what had materialized. The North Cobb players celebrated wildly after the emotional playoff win on the road.

“I was hoping to get that ball into the jet stream and that we would get a sacrifice fly out of the situation with only two outfielders,” Callahan said. “But anyway you can do it, you do it. And we’ll take it any way it comes. It was rather unusual.

“It was pretty fitting (ending) for a pretty unusual ballgame.”

North Cobb's Aery Cross takes one for the team (AJC/Michael Carvell)

North Cobb's Avery Cross takes one for the team (AJC/Michael Carvell)

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The ending spoiled an impressive comeback for Grayson (14-15). The Rams blew a three-run lead in the sixth, but rallied again for an 11-10 lead with three outs to go. It was a roller coaster of emotions for both teams over the final two innings.

“I’ve had games where every pitch mattered, but those were 2-1 or 4-3 ballgames,” Callahan said. “One like this, I really didn’t know what to expect. I started looking down at my book with my pitching staff, getting ready for the 14th or 15th inning, because that’s the way this game was looking like it was going to go.”

YOUR TURN: What is the wildest finish to a high school baseball game that you’ve ever seen? Preferably a playoff game, but any game is fine. Please post your story below.

8 comments Add your comment

Greg

May 9th, 2010
1:14 am

Ola vs. South Effingham in the playoffs last year, where the kid on third base trotted home on what he thought was a bases-loaded walk, only to be tagged for out 3 to end the game and their season.

I don’t think it gets any wilder than that.

Slinger

May 9th, 2010
1:17 am

Are you kidding me? The wildest finish to a playoff game? Was this the first playoff game you’ve ever seen? What a joke!

The wildest ending I ever saw was Evans @ Fayette state finals in the early 90’s – with a sophomore pinch hitter hitting a laser beam shot over the center fielder’s head to score both the tying and winning runs after a bang-bang slide at the plate and the Evans fans rushing the field and the fence collapsing as they rushed to celebrate. That was Game 2 of the series and staved off elimination for Evans. They went on to win the controversial championship after in a darkness and rain shortened Game 3 that featured the diesel being poured on the field and burned (and an EPA investigation) and darkness ultimately deciding the title because Fayette had no lights….

A walk off hit batsmen….ha, ha! (loudly scoffing at such a notion…!!!)

Baseball Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:08 am

The coach, out of the first base coaching box, touched (high 5′d) the runner while proceding to first before the runner scored. Is that aiding a runner? Shouldn’t Cross have been ruled out right then and the inning over before the runner scored from third?

David

May 9th, 2010
8:33 am

How about an unusual Triple play to end a game and preserve a one run win. Butler High out of Augusta facing Westside of Augusta. Butler clinging to a one run lead in the 7th. Westside loads the bases with no outs. Hitter lofts a fly to leftfield, catch is made, runner tags and heads to the plate, the throw is perfect and he is just barely tagged out, catcher the comes up firing to 2nd as the runner at 1st took off late. The throw was perfect and the runner was tagged out! A Triple Play to end the game and a 1 run win for Butler High. This happened in the early 90’s.

bob

May 9th, 2010
8:47 am

Response to Baseball fan post- runner is not out………. the ball is dead when the hitter is hit by pitch

Rebel with a cause

May 9th, 2010
11:07 am

High fiving is not assisting a runner, it happens all the time on homers with runner rounding third. Coach must touch runner in a way that actually assists the runner…such as grabbing his shirt tail to stop him or grab him to keep him from stumbling, etc…
But talk about a wild finish, a couple of years ago in a tie game runner coming home and throw coming in to catcher, runner lowered his shoulder and trucked the catcher knocking the ball loose. Runner stepped on plate after collision. Ump ruled runner out and was ejected for malicious contact but run was allowed to count. Bedlam ensued, coaches were ejected protests were filed but GHSA allowed the ruling to stand. To this day I still can’t understand how a runner that was called out and ejected can be allowed to score a game winning run.

thiswaslame

May 9th, 2010
4:55 pm

I wasn’t there but read the MDJ account of the North Cobb Christian-Hebron matchup this week. Tie game…bottom of 7th. Player steals second, throw goes into CF, runner advances to third, centerfielder misses the ball, and the runner goes on to score. Now THAT is wild.

Wayne County Fan.

May 10th, 2010
12:47 pm

This wasn’t a playoff game, but earlier in the season Wayne County and South Effingham, in the first of two games in the season, met up in Jesup for what turned out to be a good ole’ home-run derby. Wayne County launched four home runs on the night, mainly early, boosting their lead in the second inning to a comfy 9-3. South wasn’t having that though, and the pitching staff of Wayne County seemed intimidated. The two teams battled back and forth all night, South eventually tying the game, and then taking the lead off of a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. Wayne though, would come back in the bottom of the seventh with a few miracle runs of their own. It remanded scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, when Wayne loaded the bases, with no outs. The winning hit? A bunt down the third-base line by a kid who was hit-less on the night. The win preserved what was then an undefeated season for WaCo, a team that is now 25-3, and ranked #3 in AAAA.

Mind you, on an unrelated note, due to some… Idiocy, they’ll play #1 Ola in the second round, a match-up honestly fit for the finals when you look at both teams overall stats. The stands are sure to be packed down here in good ole’ Jesup, and we look forward to the match-up. Honestly though… This match-up is much more of a final series, than a second-round… I’m a little disappointed things turned out this way, for both schools.