LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
He walked Marcus Carson to get to Zach Storm.
Probably not the move I would have made. But that doesn’t make it the wrong move. What makes it the wrong move was only the fact that it didn’t work. If it works, it’s the right move.
It also did not cost Corbin the game against North Laurel Monday. The two errors preceding the decision were the biggest culprit in a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning becoming a 7-4 loss. The two errors equaled the number of hits by the Jaguars in the first six innings against Corbin ace Trace Vorbeck.
Still Corbin coach Rob Ledington’s gamble on walking Carson to pitch to a UK signee and arguably the scariest hitter in the 13th Region will draw criticism like kids are drawn to jump in a mud hole.
Let’s take a look at what goes into this decision.
What makes walking Carson unusual, based on Baseball 101, is that it put the winning run on first base. A lot of coaches would not have done that even if it were a scrub batting next. Sometimes decisions are made just to keep from looking bad.
When you pitch to Carson, you do know a few things. He is not going to strike out. The ball will be put in play and a defense that just booted two balls will have to make a play and attempt to throw out a bolt of lightning. If you do throw Carson out, your lead is down to one run with the tying run on third. There are two outs, so the sacrifice fly is out of play. You are still pitching to Storm.
If you don’t get Carson out, he is going to steal second anyway and you will have runners at second and third with one out. Then you intentionally walk Storm and face Ethan Eversole and try to turn a double play.
These are the options that ran through Ledington’s mind in the moment he had to make a decision.
He settled on a third option.
A walk to Carson loads the bases and allows you to turn a double play, although you are probably not going to double up Storm. You also have a force at any base, so you can go home for the out and keep the force in play. A fly ball scores one run and single likely ties the game. The danger is that Storm will square up on a pitch and send the ball to the fourth hole at Tri-County Country Club.
Ledington said the only thing that could ruin his strategy would be what Storm did. A solid gapper into right center for a triple scored all three runs.
When asked about the decision, Ledington showed as much conviction in the play as he did when he made call. A coach has to make many tough calls in a game and sometimes they don’t work as planned. You learn from it and go on.
Most people would not consider walking Carson if for no other reason because it could make you look bad. Expect a different decision if the same situation arise again. Not because walking Carson was right or wrong, but because in the playoffs teams will have learned the odds are not good on that gamble.