In a most improbable comeback, Phenix City's 11-12 baseball team rallied from an 11-1 deficit to eliminate Huntsville-International 12-11,Sunday afternoon in the Alabama state little league tournament at Idle Hour Park.
"I was at Central for nine years and never was a part of a comeback like that," said Phenix City coach Blair Bell. "That was really something to be a part of."
It looked bleak for Phenix City early as Huntsville batted around in the first two innings to take an 8-1 lead. Phenix City scored one in the first, but a diving catch for the third out saved two runs.
"That first-inning catch was a momentum changer and our guys kind of let down there for a while," said Bell after the game. "But we got it back in the 4th."
Down 11-1 and two outs from the game ending due to the mercy rule, Phenix City's two Peyton's, Burton and Fowler, hit back-to-back singles. Burton's single got a run across as Breydon Pelkey, who had reached on an error, scored to make it 11-2.
"That was a momentum changer for us as Burton's hit got us back on track." Bell said.
DJ Ryals followed with a three-run homer and Tommy Vickers got a two-run shot and all of a sudden, it was 11-7. Two early runs in the fifth made it 11-9. With two outs and after Huntsville's third pitching change, Jacob Harper tied it up with a two-run double. Harper then scored what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch.
Vickers, who had not pitched in a month, then saved the game for Bryce Newman.
It was an elimination game as Phenix City played late Saturday night and lost 8-7 in extra innings to Huntsville Eastern. The game was scheduled to begin at 6 but started at 10:30 p.m.
"I looked at my watch and it said 12:39 a.m. when we walked off the field," Bell said. "We had a 6-2 lead going into the last inning and could not hold it. They scored 5 to go ahead, then we tied it at 7-7, to send it to extras."
"The difference was they scored once in the 7th and we didn't," he said.
With the win, Phenix City will play the winner of Sunday's second elimination game between Auburn Beehive and South Monroe.
That game will be at 8 p.m. Monday.
The Phenix City roster includes DJ Ryals, Bryce Newman, Tommy Vickers, Breyden Pelkey, Tucker Melton, Will Dyer, Luke Davis, Peyton Burton,Peyton Fowler, Jacob Harper and Trey Lee (injured).