All-State Tournament: Indiana vs. Alabama
“Well,” Satchel Paige said, when asked to try and sum up this extraordinary semifinal series, “there surely weren’t many runs to be had.”
No, there were not. In total, there were seven runs scored in 33 impossibly tense innings. Baseball had not seen pitching like this since the time of Three Finger Brown, which was fitting since Three Finger Brown himself was part of it. Brown and Paige matched up in a classic Game 1.
“Just like old times, ain’t it, Satch?” Brown said to Paige.
“Old times?” Paige said. “You’re like 30 years old than me.”
“Sure I am,” Brown said, winking.
For 11 innings, neither pitcher gave up a run. In truth, there weren’t even many chances. In the seventh, Indiana put two runners on against Paige, but then Max Carey grounded into a double play. In the 11th, Willie Mays’ single put runners on first and third, but Brown calmly got Henry Aaron to ground out.
“How long we going to be out here?” Oscar Charleston yelled across the diamond at Satchel Paige.
“Long as we need to be,” Satch responded. “Besides, where else you gonna go?”
Paige got Indiana 1-2-3 in the top of the 12th. In the bottom of the inning, Willie McCovey led off with a single, and then Brown threw a wild pitch, moving him to second. After getting two outs, Brown faced Double Duty Radcliffe, who has had an amazing tournament.
And one more time, Radcliffe delivered — a single up the middle, McCovey beat Charleston’s throw to the plate and Alabama led the series 1-0.