For a team that has the fourth-best record in Region 8-AAAAA, Salem (9-5, 4-3 Region 8-AAAAA) sure looked like a top tier team at home on the diamond facing Gainesville (12-2, 7-0 Region 8-AAAAA, a team that is undefeated in region play. Salem played hard and competed at a high level, and had it not been for a highly controversial call the Seminole might have own. Salem wasn't able to capitalize on enough scoring opportunities and they fell 2-1 to the Red Elephants.
Salem pitcher, Kevin Barham threw a complete game, allowed just five hits with 10 strikeouts and had the only run for the Seminoles, but his efforts weren't enough to thwart Gainesville.
The run that changed the game came in the fifth inning. Gainesville scored its first run off of a passed ball at home in the third, and scored its second on a passed ball that was missed at third. How that runner got on base is where the controversy begins.
A Gainesville batter took a shot to deep center and it looked caught in centerfield, the defensive player's glove went to the ground and seemingly, the ball dropped in. He bounced up after dropping for the catch and threw the ball in. The umpire at home called the Gainesville batter out. Then the umpire at second called him safe as the Red Elephants praised the call, the Salem crowd and the Seminoles' coaching staff heavily protested the call. No one could believe it.
The runner eventually went on to score and give Gainesville a comfortable 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth inning Salem had the bases loaded with no outs. One base hit would have tied the game or more. Gainesville brought in a new pitcher and that was all she wrote. Salem didn't get another hit or walk as he struck out the Seminoles' final fix batters.
Salem will travel to play Gainesville on Wednesday at 5:55 p.m. and look to avenge a gut-wrenching loss.