Friday, May 11 2012, 10:19 pm

Inning by inning, it went on.

With each batter that Shelby pitcher Matthew McMurray retired, and as Mountain Heritage counterpart Zach Wiseman did the same, the tension grew.  With the one-and-done pressure of the 2A state playoffs, the temperature on the field kept rising even though it was a cool night at Keeter Stadium/Veterans Field.

Both teams were looking for that clutch hit with runners aboard to put their stamp on the contest. In a classic pitcher’s duel – through nine innings the two sides had a combined six hits — the contest wasn’t decided until the 10th inning, and in abrupt fashion.

Shelby sophomore Jackson Mims delivered a one-out, line drive hit into the left-center field gap to bring in Zach Huffstetler from third to end the 2-1 contest.

The Golden Lions (14-8) will now play Tuesday at East Lincoln, which had its own drama in a 3-2 eight-inning win over South Iredell in the opening round.

“We knew our guys would be exciting coming in,” Shelby coach Chris Emery said of his club, which had no playoff experience on the roster, “but we’ve been through a lot this year. We’d played in front of big crowds.

“But we kept fighting and fighting. All year long we’ve been in games up a run, or down a run. We found a way to win at the end.”

McMurray, a senior, turned in a solid nine-inning performance even though he got a no-decision. He gave up an unearned run, three hits, walked one and struck out six.

Wiseman was equal to the challenge as well. The Mountain Heritage lefthander allowed only three hits in nine innings, also allowed one unearned run, and struck out 11 on the night.

“He (McMurray) did a great job attacking the strike zone,” said Emery. “He pitched to contact and led the defense do the job behind him. He really stepped up for us in what could have been his last time pitching on this field.”

Both teams had to go to their bullpens. Grant Byers took over for Shelby in the 10th and stranded a runner on second.

Kaleb McCurry did the honors for the visiting Cougars in the bottom of the inning but didn’t fare as well.

Huffstetler drew a walk, moved up on Chandler Young’s sacrifice bunt, then took third on a wild pitch. Then with a 1-1 count, Mims supplied the game-winner.

Shelby scored without benefit of a hit in the second. Jon-Michael Spake led off with a walk and went all the way to third on an errant pickoff attempt. He made it 1-0 on another Cougar throwing error.

Mountain Heritage tied it in similar fashion in the six as a throwing error put a runner at second, then Sam Howell’s two-out single made it 1-1.

Both teams had numerous opportunities to generate offense but each time the pitching and defense slammed the door.

“We knew we were facing a great pitcher (Wiseman),” said Emery. “We finally were able to get a bunt down, then get the big hit we needed.”

Source : Shelby stays alive in 2A playoffs with 2-1, 10-inning win – Shelby Star