Warriors pick up a huge win over Rhea County
by Andy Southard | May 3, 2018 7:56 am
In a must-win situation on the road, on Monday afternoon, against Rhea County, the Warrior baseball team picked up their sixth district win of the season to move into third place and avoid the dreaded play-in game and with a win a matchup against the #1 seed Cookeville.
The Warriors, who were battling Rhea County for that third spot, defeated the Eagles 6-1 on the road.
The Warriors jumped out to an early lead in Monday’s matchup. Chris Mills would get the Warriors going with a one-out single. David Smith would follow that up with another single to centerfield that would move Mills to third and give the Warriors runners on the first and third, with one out. Jason Maxwell would then come up and hit a fly ball to left field that would be deep enough to score Mills and give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Rhea County would get two runners on in the bottom of the first, but Warriors’ starter Smith would work out of the jam, and the Warriors would extend their lead in the top of the second inning with two more runs. Rhea County would get two quick out to start the inning, but three straight walks to Tucker Allen, Hayden Farris, and Mills would load the bases. Smith would be up next for the Warriors. Smith would come up big for the Warriors on the first pitch he saw; he would drive into left field scoring both Allen and Farris to push the Warriors’ lead to 3-0.
Neither team could get anything going after that until the Warriors would extend their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Farris would lead off the inning with a single after a sacrifice bunt by Mills would move Farris to second with one out. Smith would come up big again for the Warriors with a double that would score Farris and give the Warriors a 4-0 lead. Will Griggs would then come in for Smith as a courtesy runner and would advance to third base on a wild pitch. Maxwell would then put runners on the corners as a pitch hit him. Griggs would score three pitches later when Eli McDonald would ground out to the shortstop and give the Warriors a 5-0 lead.
Rhea County would pick up their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-1. However, the Warriors would answer back in the top of the fifth inning with a run when pinch runner Tucker Nash would score on a passed ball to put the Warriors up 6-1, and that would be the final, as Smith would get two strikeouts and a fly out to end the game.
Smith would pick up the complete game win for the Warriors, going seven innings, allowing six hits and one run, while striking out 12 and walking one.
The Warriors’ offense collected nine hits on the day. Smith led the Warriors at the plate going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. McDonald also finished the day with a couple of hits. Farris, Mills, Maxwell, and Macon Girdley added one hit each.
With the win, the Warriors move to 13-10 on the season and 6-6 in District 6AAA play, which puts them in third place. With the third-place finish, the Warriors will take on Warren County in a best of three series starting Monday, in Warren County, at 6 p.m. The Warriors and Pioneers will face off in game one, in Warren County, on Monday night. On Tuesday, the series will move to White County, and then, if necessary, the game will be played Wednesday, in Warren County. All three games are scheduled for a 6 p.m. start time.
During the season, the Warriors and the Pioneers matched up three times, with the Warriors winning one of the three. The Warriors won the first game of the series at home 3-1. However, the Pioneers were able to win the back-to-back games by scores of 6-1 and 3-1. The Warriors will look for two more wins starting Monday to extend their season and play for a district championship, on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how the series goes. If the Warriors can win two games, they will also earn their first-ever trip to the region.