FOXWORTH, MS (WDAM) - Jacob Boone still was trying to catch his breath Monday night a good 10 minutes after knocking in the game-winning run in West Marion High School's, 4-3 victory over Morton High School.
"My heart was racing more than ever right there," said Boone, who capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk-off single up the middle. "I just tried to focus. Whew. That's still unbelievable. My nerves were rattling. It's still unreal. It's what you dream about right there."
Boone's hit drove in Dawson Robbins from third base as the Trojans (14-11) won the third and deciding game in the best-of-three Class 3A baseball series. West Marion had won Friday's opener 12-0 before Morton rallied to tie the series with a 6-4 victory Saturday.
The Trojans will face the winner of the series between Choctaw County and Crystal Springs high schools in the second round.
Morton (12-18) appeared to have seized control of Monday's game when pitcher Easton Porter helped his own cause with a run-scoring single to push the Panthers' lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
But West Marion pitcher Shelby Terrell reached to start the bottom of the seventh inning, striking out but gaining first base when the ball bounced to the backstop. John Mahaffey walked and Robbins singled to load the bases with nobody out.
"That K-wild pitch, I told our guys it was one of those freak things," Morton coach Matt Boone said. "Got a bad bounce, and in baseball, that happens. You'd like to get that first out, and maybe things go differently, but it didn't."
West Marion coach Derrick Jenkins said the strikeout-wild pitch lit the fuse on the rally.
"The last few games, we've hit line drives right at people," Jenkins said. "We couldn't find a break. With the swinging strike three (wild pitch) there at the end of the game, I knew that was our break. It gave our kids life, and after that, things just started falling our way."
Dalton Raynes drove in Terrell with a liner that just cleared a leaping infielder's glove. That brought the Trojans to within 3-2, still left the bases loaded and finished Porter's night on the mound.
Shortstop Fred Harper replaced Porter, and Clay Blocker chopped a rainbow deep in the hole at shortstop. Mahaffey scored to tie the game, and the bases remained loaded on the infield single.
That brought up Boone, who already had two singles and had driven in the Trojans' first run of the game in the third inning. He worked the count to 2-2, then fouled off another pitch, before lacing a single up the middle to score Dawson.
"I knew I was going to get a fastball and I was going to drive it," Boone said.
Porter (3-4) allowed four runs on eight hits, walking two while striking out eight.
Terrell (5-2) went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits, while walking five and striking out 11. He stranded four Panthers in scoring position, including a pair at third base.
"He didn't have his best stuff, but he went out and competed and did what we asked of him," Jenkins said. "Hats off to him."
Morton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Carrington Davis' single was bobbled in the outfield, allowing Cody Gilbert to score.
Boone's single to right field scored Raynes in the third inning to tie the score, but the Panthers went up 2-1 in the fourth when Dalton Busby was waved home when Terrell was called for a balk with runners on first and third.
Porter's two-out single scored Harper with what loomed as a huge insurance run in the top of the seventh.
But the Trojans had other ideas.
"These kids never quit," Jenkins said. "They always fight, fight, fight, until the last out. They never gave up. They knew their season was on the line, and they never quit."
Boone's three singles led West Marion's 10-hit attack, while Robbins and Raynes had two singles each. Mahaffey, Terrell and Blocker hit a single each.
Morton finished with seven hits, including two singles by Harper at the top of the order. Davis, Busby, Coby McCrory and Jonmarius Russell each hit singles for the Panthers.