Madison Central's "Rallysaurus" from two years ago survived extinction. The same could not be said for one of the two "rally snakes" in its dugout on Saturday.
The Indians defeated Woodford County, 4-2, in the 11th Region semifinals at Woodford County Park. Central scored all four of its runs in its final two at-bats, getting two to go ahead of the Yellow Jackets on a home run by Jeremy Cox, his first of the season.
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What brought about such good fortune? A sacrifice to the baseball gods, of course. One of the stuffed snakes the team won at GattiTown earlier this year would do just fine.
"Coach (Steve) Roof was joking about it in practice that if we were struggling, we were gonna cut the snake's head off," Cox said with a laugh. "So that's what happened, his head got ripped off."
Devin Eckal went 4 and 2/3 innings for Madison Central, surrendering four hits and striking out three. James Goble finished things for the Indians, allowing one hit in the final 2 and a third.
Hunter Hilbert almost again went the distance for the Yellow Jackets after doing so in their first-round win against Lexington Catholic on Monday. He was tagged with all four runs but struck out seven before Caleb McNeely relieved him for the final out in the sixth.
Logan Thomason hit a two-run double to give the Indians their first lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth. Cox hit his shot with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to give Madison Central the lead for good after Woodford tied things in the top of the inning.
Cox earlier in the game was near a ball that dropped into fair territory that he thought was tracking foul. That allowed Woodford County to score its first run. After trotting around the base pads in the sixth inning, Roof lauded Cox, saying "I told you you'd have your moment."
Now Madison Central will get at least one more moment as a team. The Indians will play Scott County, the two-time defending champion in the 11th Region. Central is in the finals for the first time since 2015, when it advanced to state, but this makes three trips in five years for the 44th District juggernauts.
Scott County defeated the Indians, 5-1, in Georgetown in their only meeting this season.
"One goal," Cox said. " ... I think we can do it. They got us down there but this is another chance for us."
One chance, one goal and one stuffed snake left to sacrifice, if necessary.