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SF Cinderella run ends in extras

SF Cinderella run ends in extras
You live by the sword, you die by the sword.
The beneficiary of a two-out error in the seventh that allowed two runs to score and force extra innings, South Fulton then saw its season end on a similar wild throw in the ninth in a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Halls Tuesday that concluded the Devils season in the District 14A Tournament.
The setback was not only the final chapter to SF’s 2010 campaign, it also ended a magical postseason run that saw the Big Red oust top-seeded Trenton and win two games in the district tournament for the first time in five years.
South Fulton concluded its year at 13-20-1.
The gritty sixth-seeded Red Devils scored four times in the top of the seventh to force the two extra frames and actually led 8-7 heading into the bottom of the eighth before No. 2 Halls pushed across a tying tally to make a ninth inning necessary.
And if not for a pair of close calls that went against SF — one at the plate in the sixth and another at the beginning of its seventh-inning rally — the Redmen may’ve won in regulation and advanced to today’s loser’s bracket final.
Instead, Halls did so and will face host Union City at Elam Stadium for both a berth in Thursday’s championship round against Greenfield and a spot in next week’s regional tournament. The winner of today’s 4:30 UC-Halls game would have to beat Greenfield twice on Thursday to win the 14A title and earn a host role in Monday’s Region 7 semifinals.
A one-out throwing error by first baseman Sam Curtis that skipped past South Fulton catcher Josh Clement allowed Cody Olds — who was trapped between home and third — to score the deciding run for Halls Thursday.
The error was the last of six in the game by SF.
Before that, the never-say-die Red Devils seemed to be destined for more of their unexpected postseason heroics.
Down 8-4 heading into its final at-bat Tuesday, SF got one of those runs back on a RBI double by Ryan Prince, who was then ruled out at second while trying to scramble back to the bag to beat a cutoff throw.
Singles by Kyle Clouse, Clement and a run-scoring poke by eighth-grader Harrison Hawks got the Devils within 8-6 with two outs and runners at second and third.
Caleb Turner then hit a comebacker to Halls reliever Zack Patterson, who initially bobbled the ball, but had plenty of time to throw to first for the final out. Instead, Patterson threw wildly, allowing both SF baserunners to race home for an 8-all deadlock.
The two clubs then swapped runs in the eight — the Devils scoring on Kyle Clouse’s fielder’s choice ground ball that pushed home his brother Jonathan, who had walked and ended up at third on Sam Curtis’ infield single. 
The Tigers countered, though, with the aid of a error on Hawks who threw widely to Curtis from shortstop with one out in the bottom of the inning.
Olds then doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth and was bunted to third before Hollis Betton hit a sharp grounder to Curtis at first. Curtis’ throw home however, tailed away from Clement and allowed Olds to cross the pay station with the game-winner.
Leadoff man Jonthan Clouse reached base four times in the contest — two by single and twice more via walk — as part of a South Fulton offense that produced 11 hits. Clouse also scored three times.
Hawks had three safeties, including a triple and two RBIs, while Clement stroked a trio of singles. Kyle Clouse had a double and a single and scored twice.
Kyle Clouse (3-4), the last of three SF hurlers following sibling Jonathan and Caleb Turner, was charged with the pitching loss.
The contest was the last in a Big Red jersey for seniors Jonathan Clouse, Curtis and Turner.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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