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Cavaliers win battle of top district teams
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The Cookeville Cavaliers rolled into town Tuesday in what was a battle for first place in District 6-AAA.
The Warren County Pioneers needed a complete game on offense and defense to knock the Cavaliers off their pedestal. After an intense seven innings of pitching and hitting, Warren County was defeated by a final score of 4-0.
Warren County pitcher Will Sweeton worked all seven innings for the Pioneers. Sweeton gave up no earned runs, only four hits, and one walk in the 4-0 loss.
Infield errors proved costly for the Pioneers and allowed Cookeville to score all four of its runs. That included two first-inning errors that allowed Cookeville to score twice.
Warren County did make contact with the ball, but when the Pioneers did make contact, there was a Cavalier not very far away. It seemed Warren County could not buy a hit on Tuesday as nothing dropped for a base hit. Anything hit on the ground in the infield was quickly gathered up and thrown to first.
In the top of the first, the Cavaliers started the game a lead-off walk. What was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt turned into an error and Cookeville had runners at first and second base. The next batter reached on a fielder’s choice for out one and runners remained at first and second base. This time a hit to the pitcher forced him to throw to first for the second out while the runners advanced to second and third.
A second error in the first inning allowed two runs to score in the Cavaliers first trip to the plate for a 2-0 lead. The final out was made by Sweeton to first base to end Cookeville’s momentum.
In the bottom of the first the Pioneers found out they would have to put in work if they were going to reach base. Cookeville retired the top of the lineup in order, all by way of strikeouts.
In the top of the second, Sweeton and the Pioneer defense responded by returning the favor. The Cavaliers went three up, three down. All the outs were grounders to the Pioneer infield.
In the bottom of the second, the Pioneers made contact. A lead-off grounder to first base by Jett Urtubees went for out one. Colby Elkins went down swinging for out two and Lucas Rogers grounded out to third base for out three.
The Cavaliers led the third inning off with a single to right. A sacrifice bunt advanced the Cavalier runner to second and Warren County picked up out one. The following batter was hit by a pitch from Sweeton and Cookeville had runners at first and second. A line-drive shot looked like it would drop in for the Cavaliers, but Urtubees came from nowhere to make the catch. He turned toward first, planted, and fired a rocket to Frye to get the runner before he could get back to the base for outs two and three.
The Pioneers were pumped off Urtubees’ double play from right field. But the bottom of the third was the same result as previous innings, three up, three down.
Both teams went down in order in the fourth.
The fifth inning lead-off batter for Cookeville reached by error on a grounder. Back-to-back outs for Cookeville advanced the runner to third base. A single to center field scored another Cavalier run to make it 3-0.
It was more batting woes for Warren County in the bottom of the fifth. Two consecutive strikeouts led the Pioneers off, followed by a line-drive out to shortstop for out three.
In the top of the seventh Cookeville added a little insurance. A small roller in front of home plate was gathered up by the catcher and thrown to first for the first out. The following batter reached on an error by the Pioneer shortstop. The runner stole second and after a ground ball out to first base. Cookeville had a runner at third with two outs. A deep single hit to shortstop allowed the runner to beat the throw and the runner from third scored and Cookeville led 4-0. The top of the inning ended on a fly ball caught by Urtubees.
Warren County was down to its final at-bat. Yasunga went down swinging after taking the count full and fighting off several foul balls. Golden hit a line-drive shot to right field that hung in the air just a little too long and it was caught for out two. Frye, who has power, jumped on the first two pitches and could not catch up to them and went down 0-2 early in the count. Frye swung for the fence in his final swing but came up empty for the final out of the game.
The Pioneers had too many costly errors and just could not adjust to the speed of the Cavalier pitches. Cookeville defeated Warren County 4-0 at home to take sole possession of first place in the district. The Pioneers will play their final home game Saturday versus Tullahoma with game time set for 6 p.m.