By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Disputed calls are nothing new to sports, particularly baseball. But a reversed ruling doesn’t normally happen after both teams have already gone back to their dugouts.
It did Tuesday, and Shady Spring was able to take advantage.
The Tigers scored three runs in the top of the seventh after Woodrow Wilson had appeared to turn an inning-ending double play, then held off the Eagles in the bottom half for a 9-6 victory in Beckley.
Already leading 6-5 after Drew Green’s go-ahead RBI single, the Tigers benefited from a controversial ruling that extended the seventh in the first meeting between the rivals with Shady as a Class AAA team.
Green’s single to right scored Jordan Palchesko with one out to put Shady ahead by one. Ryan Snodgress then grounded to second baseman Hunter Greco. Green was forced at second, and shortstop Chris Metrick threw to first to get Snodgress and seemingly end the inning.
Tigers first base coach Mike Manning immediately disputed the call but it looked to be fruitless. Head coach Dave Shaw came out to appeal to home plate umpire Pat Fragile, who — while every player had returned to their dugouts — reversed the call after ruling Greco’s throw pulled first baseman Hunter Halstead off the bag.
“From my angle — and I’m sure it was hard for (base umpire) Gary (Nichols) to see — he pulled his foot off the base at least a foot,” Shaw said. “(It was) the right call. I was glad they got together on that.”
That left the Tigers with runners on the corners with two out. Adam Carr was then hit by a pitch by Woodrow starter Josh Rakes, who was then pulled by head coach Mark Daniel.
Greco relieved Rakes, and freshman Michael Hill blooped a single to shallow center to drive in Meadows and Snodgress for an 8-5 Shady lead.
Carr later scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-5.
The disputed play happened in front of the Woodrow dugout, and Daniel saw things differently than Shaw.
“It was a bad call. (Halstead’s) foot was on top of the base,” Daniel said. “I’ve never seen that (situation) before. There were several questionable plays, but the umpires didn’t lose the game. We dug ourselves a hole.”
Daniel, although upset about the call, was more concerned with his defense, which committed five errors behind Rakes. All four runs in the seventh were charged to Rakes, who took the loss.
Rakes, a junior right-hander, gave up nine runs — six earned — and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings. He walked four and struck out three.
“Our defense let us down today, big time,” Daniel said. “All the way around. We had five errors, a couple of passed balls and some miscommunication. And Rakes didn’t do bad. He pitched a good game. We let him down today.”
Snodgress picked up the win in relief for the Tigers. He survived a shaky seventh in which he gave up a leadoff double to Brent Osborne, who advanced to third on a balk. Osborne scored on a groundout by Halstead to make it 9-6.
Snodgress struck two of the last three batters he faced to end it.
Shady scored an unearned run in each of the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead. The Eagles got one of them back in the bottom of the second. It, too, was unearned.
Woodrow (7-8) broke through against Buckner in the third. Consecutive doubles by Greco, Wriston and Osborne made it 3-2. Following a Halstead single, Osborne scored to make it 4-2 when Metrick reached on a fielder’s choice.
Shady scored three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Carr’s two-run single, to go ahead 5-4.
Bowyer scored on a passed ball in the bottom half to tie it at 5-5.
The Tigers (4-7) are now in the driver’s seat for sectional seeding after having beaten both Oak Hill and Woodrow.
“I was telling my assistant coaches that, this year, the Woodrow game is going to mean more to the kids — to us and to them,” Shaw said. “Before we were kind of the little guys wanting to beat the big guys. I guess we’re (with) the big guys now. It just seems that we get up for our sectional teams. We’ve done that the last three years.”
Woodrow will host Oak Hill at 5 p.m. Thursday. Shady will visit Liberty at 5 p.m. today.
— E-mail: gfauber
SS: 110 003 4 — 9 9 2
WW: 013 001 1 — 6 11 5
SS: Franklin Buckner, Ryan Snodgress (6) and Brendan Schack, WW: Josh Rakes, Hunter Greco (7) and Dakota Bowyer. WP — Snodgress. LP — Rakes. Hitting — SS: John Linkous 2-3 (rbi), Drew Green (rbi), Adam Carr 2-3 (2 rbi), Michael Hill 2-3 (2 rbi), WW: Greco 2-3 (2b), Logan Wriston (2b, rbi), Brent Osborne 2-3 (2 2b, 2 rbi), Hunter Halstead 2-4 (rbi), Bowyer 2-3.
Records: SS: 4-7; WW: 7-8.