File Photo


File Photo

Call it a pickoff attempt. Call it a variation of the hidden ball trick. Call it whatever you want, really.

When the dirt around second base settled in the top of the seventh Thursday night, it was the second out of the inning – and a much needed one for Byrd pitcher Steele Netterville.

“We were just trying to find an out,” said Yellow Jackets coach Greg Williams after a 4-3 win over Southwood.

To set the scene, Byrd was clinging to a one-run lead with runners on first and second. After a hit batter and a walk put two men on base, Jackets pitching coach Ford Pemberton went to the mound to talk to his reliever.

But before he could get out there, the infield had already gathered around Netterville and called one of the oldest tricks in the book. With a pinch runner on second base, Netterville motioned like a pickoff attempt. Both the second baseman and shortstop went diving in the dirt as if the ball got by them and into centerfield.

The trick: Netterville never threw the ball. As the confused base runner jerked his head around trying to figure out where the ball was, Netterville tagged him for the second out of the inning.

“We just knew we needed something to get us an out and that’s what happened,” said Byrd catcher Trent Touchet.

While Southwood (7-9, 1-2 District 1-5A) still managed to get the tying runner 90 feet away, they couldn’t come up with the clutch hit – a theme that plagued the Cowboys all evening.

“They executed a play, it was a good play and they ran it at the perfect time,” said Southwood coach Bobby Giliam, whose team stranded 10 runners on base in the loss.

“I’ll give Greg credit for calling that at the right time. It worked.”

While Williams wasn’t taking credit for the call after the game, he couldn’t help but smile in the dugout as his team remained unbeaten in district play.

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