Hayden Davis celebrates a homerun.
Hayden Davis celebrates a homerun.
MADISON – Sometimes sports just get things right.
    Prior to its season-opener against Copiah on Thursday night, the MRA baseball team took the field with only eight players to honor Cole Kirby, a Patriots’ infielder who died in a car accident this summer. The first pitch of the game was thrown with nobody at second base, Kirby’s position.

In a classy move, Copiah, out of respect, agreed to not let the first pitch count as an official one so that MRA could remember and honor Kirby with the missing-man formation. Hayden Davis then jogged onto the field to take his position at second base, and the game got underway.

It was a special way to start the night, which ended with MRA escaping with an 8-7 victory at Patriot Field. Lee Tanner’s two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning provided the tying and go-ahead runs.

Reliever Landon Cochran induced a groundout for the final out of the game with the potential tying run at second base, putting an end to the back-and-forth affair. MRA led 3-1 after three innings and 6-5 through five, and trailed 7-6 entering the bottom of the sixth – setting the stage for Tanner’s heroics.

 Reigning Division I-AAAA champion MRA got hits from Hunter Hulsey, Davis Ferguson, John Cartwright, Hayden Barksdale (home run), Hayden Davis, Jake Pavatte, Cochran (double) and Tanner. Barksdale, Pavatte and Tanner each drove in two runs for the revamped Patriots, who lost 16 seniors from last year’s championship team.