WCMS baseball takes second in CTC
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Shortly after the WCMS Pioneers took down Shelbyville 3-2 Monday in a do-or-die game at home, coach Chad Young gathered his team together. He praised his Pioneers for their fight, celebrated with them for winning such a clutch game and left them with one message – the work wasn’t close to being done.
Young told anybody who would listen that the Pioneers were going to turn heads when the top-four teams in the CTC gathered in Sparta to battle. Young was prophetic.
Warren County, the No. 4 seed after an up-and-down season, finished second in the CTC tourney, earning the right to keep battling in the postseason. The Pioneers earned their most impressive win of the season Friday, eliminating top seed Coffee County 6-3 a night after the Raiders blanked Warren County 7-0.
In tournament action, Warren County also beat Franklin South 12-9 Thursday to avoid elimination. The Pioneers ultimately fell 10-0 to Tullahoma in the finals.
“I am so proud of these guys,” said Young. “I knew we had a chance to catch a few teams off guard with the way we have been playing. We hit great, pitched even better and played sound defense.”
The Pioneers finished the regular season 9-8, but shook off a slow start to win their last five games – including four CTC battles. The confidence only grew when Warren County shut down Shelbyville Monday, relying on the 1-2 combination of Sam Rivers and Brody Womack on the mound and Keynai Bryan at the plate.
All three were vital once again to help the Pioneers shock many with their second-place finish.
Womack picked up the win in Thursday’s victory over Franklin South. The Pioneers went up 12-0 after four inning, scoring four in the second, one in the third and five more in the fourth. Womack cruised through his five innings, with the Trojans only getting to him in the fifth for three runs. Womack struck out four while allowing four hits.
The Trojans made it interesting by scoring six runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Warren County had plenty of cushion. Evan Snapp was big at the plate, going 4-for-4 in the victory. Tyler ‘T-Bone’ Adams added two hits, including a two-run double during the team’s five-run second inning.
Action shots from the CTC tournament (Ginna Cook photos)
Bryan ignited the six-run third with an RBI double, then stole home on a passed ball. Womack helped his cause with an RBI single in the frame, while the Pioneers also scored on Conner Williams’ RBI groundout and a throwing error that plated two.
The win Thursday set up another battle with Coffee County, a team that had beaten Warren County three times already. In this situation, the fourth time was a charm.
Rivers and Bryan combined to limit the Red Raiders, using their contrasting styles to flummox everybody’s favorite to take home hardware in the CTC tournament. Rivers, a lefty, relied on a looping breaking ball – something nobody has seemed to be able to figure out in the last three weeks. Bryan countered by bringing the heat, which looked even harder Friday compared to Rivers’ off-speed pace.
Bryan was good at the plate too, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He had a clutch RBI double in the fifth, coming a pitcher after Rivers had scored on a passed ball. Bryan eventually scored as well, tagging up on a long sac fly off Womack’s bat.
By then, the Pioneers were up 6-1. Coffee County scored in the bottom of the fifth and had chance to really make interesting in the sixth, but the Pioneers shut them down.
Warren County was able to make a huge play at the plate during the frame with the bases loaded. Bryan, who had walked three in the frame including one with bases jammed that forced in a Red Raider run, missed the target again and had a pitch sail. The team’s regular catcher knew what to do though, sprinting home to help protect the plate.
The Pioneers were able to nail a runner at home trying to steal a run on the passed ball, picking up a huge second out. Bryan escaped any more trouble by striking out the next batter to end the Red Raider rally.
Warren County led wire-to-wire against Coffee County, thanks to an RBI double by Womack in the first and a run-scoring groundout by Snapp. Bryan aided the offense with an RBI triple to the centerfield fence in the third, answering Coffee County’s score in the second.
Jerren Harris added two hits in the win.
The Pioneers will get to come back home May 11 in the TMSAA tournament. The postseason schedule is still being completed – check the WCSA Facebook page for the latest information.
Keynai Bryan, Evan Snapp and Sam Rivers were honored individually for their strong play in the CTC tournament. (Ginna Cook photo)